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Explosive violence in September 2018

In September 2018, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,849 deaths and injuries from 256 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 58% (1,066) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 89% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 16% in other areas.

In total, 63% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst 14% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 16% by air-launched explosives – the remainder (7%) were caused by attacks using landmines or multiple types of explosive weapons.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 22 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia according to civilian casualties.

The continuing decrease in casualties in September reflects the sustained fall in recorded civilian harm in some of the worst impacted areas, particularly Syria. Just 121 civilian casualties from explosive weapons were reported in Syria according to English-language news sources last month.

Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in September. 84% of reported civilian casualties were caused by IEDs – in total 74% were caused by just two suicide attacks. On September 5th 2018, a suicide bomber targeted a wrestling session in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The attack left at least 26 dead and 91 injured. And, on September 11th 2018, a suicide bomber targeted a protest on a key highway between Jalalabad and a border crossing in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. The attack left at least 68 killed and 165 injured.

In Iraq, despite being amongst the five worst impacted countries, civilian casualties from explosive violence continued to decrease last month. AOAV recorded 183 civilian casualties from explosive violence in Iraq in September – most (67%) were caused by IEDs. On September 12th 2018, a suicide car bomber detonated outside a restaurant near Beiji city, in Iraq’s Salahuddin governorate. The blast left six dead and 42 injured when it targeted the restaurant.

Though there is a significant decrease in civilian casualties compared to last month, Yemen remains amongst the worst impacted countries. In September 96% of civilian casualties were caused by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

In Somalia, at least 54 civilian casualties from explosive violence were reported last month and, of these, 51 were caused by IEDs.

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.