In October 2017, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 4,093 deaths and injuries from explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 63% (2,592) of the deaths and injuries recorded.
When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 93% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 8% in other areas.
In total, 56% of all casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst 31% were caused by airstrikes, and 13% by ground-launched explosives. 50% were caused by suicide attacks alone.
At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 21 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq according to civilian casualties.
Syria maintained the country’s usual place as the worst impacted by explosive weapons. In comparison to the global picture, only 15% of civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Syria were caused by IEDs. Instead, the majority (67%) were caused by airstrikes – predominantly in Deir Ezzor and Raqqa governorates.
Somalia saw a significant rise in civilian casualties from explosive weapons last month, with 673 civilian casualties in just eight incidents. Of these, at least 586 deaths and injuries (87%) were caused by just one attack – a truck bomb in Mogadishu on October 14th.
Similarly, in Afghanistan, 98% of civilian casualties were caused by IEDs. Both ISIS and the Taliban were responsible for some large-scale attacks.
Whilst Pakistan was impacted by both IEDs and ground-launched attacks, with shelling from India and sporadic grenade attacks, alongside frequent IED attacks by ISIS and the Taliban. The deadliest incident was caused by an ISIS suicide attack on a shrine in Jhal Magsi, Baluchistan, on October 5th which killed at least 22 civilians and two police officers.
Iraq dropped to fifth, amongst the worst impacted locations last month. Most reported casualties in Iraq during October were armed actors and security personnel, whilst the country continued to see surprisingly low levels of civilian harm. AOAV recorded 104 civilian casualties in Iraq last month.
However, given the current security situation in Iraq, it is likely that many civilian casualties go unrecorded.
AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.
Did you find this story interesting? Please support AOAV's work and donate.