In May 2018, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 2,247 deaths and injuries from 287 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 69% (1,544) of the deaths and injuries recorded.
When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 90% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 20% in other areas.
Last month saw the lowest levels of casualties from explosive violence since December 2012. This is mostly due to the significant decrease in casualties from airstrikes in Syria in May.
In total, 62% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst 19% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 16% by air-launched explosives.
At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 22 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq and Yemen according to civilian casualties.
Whilst Syria remained the country worst impacted by explosive weapons, AOAV saw a substantial decrease in the number of casualties compared to previous months. In fact, compared to the average number of monthly civilian casualties, May’s was 66% lower. 37% of civilian casualties from explosive violence across the country were caused by airstrikes, 15% by ground-launched explosive weapons and 35% from IEDs.
In Afghanistan, 92% of reported civilian casualties were caused by IEDs, with the remainder caused by ground-launched explosive weapons. On May 6th 2018, over 50 were killed and injured when an explosion targeted a mosque being used as a voter registration centre in Khost province – a number of attacks, both gun and IED attacks, targeted such centres over May. On May 18th, a series of bomb explosions targeted spectators at a cricket match in Jalalabad, causing over 50 casualties.
In Nigeria, all civilian casualties from explosive violence were caused by IEDs – all were suicide attacks. The vast majority of civilian casualties were caused by a double suicide bombing targeting a mosque and market in Mubi, in Adamawa, which left at least 86 civilian dead and 58 wounded.
Iraq too saw all civilian casualties from explosive violence occur due to IEDs. However, the downward trend in such violence continued.
In Yemen, 73% of civilian casualties from explosive violence were caused by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and 26% by Houthi shelling.
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.
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