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Explosive violence in January 2019

In January 2019, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 2,006 deaths and injuries from 239 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 51% (1,030) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 84% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 9% in other areas.

In total, 62% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst 20% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 15% by air-launched explosives – the remaining were from landmines or attacks using multiple explosive weapon launch methods.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 25 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Philippines, and Iraq in terms of civilian casualties.

Syria was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in January; with 258 civilian casualties from such violence last month. 42% were casualties were caused by airstrikes; 34% were from US-led coalition airstrikes alone. 24% were caused by ground-launched explosives, 29%% by IEDs, and the remainder from mines.

Comparatively, in Afghanistan, 90% of civilian casualties were caused by IEDs; with 48% from one suicide attack alone, when, on January 14th, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

In both the Philippines and Iraq too, the majority of civilian casualties were caused by IEDs – causing 95% of civilian casualties from explosive violence in Philippines and 88% in Iraq. On January 27th, twin bomb blasts targeted a Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo, in the Philippines’ Sulu province.

In Yemen, where 164 civilian casualties from explosive weapons were recorded, 57% were caused by ground-launched weapons. Houthi rebels were responsible for the majority of civilian casualties (at least 82%).

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.