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Explosive violence in June 2019

In June 2019, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 2,224 deaths and injuries from 338 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 65% (1,437) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 90% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 11% in other areas.

In total, 38% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by airstrikes, whilst 16% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 35% by improvised explosive devices (IEDs)– further casualties were caused by incidents involving explosives where the launch method was unclear, multiple types of explosive weaponry, and landmines.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 24 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Yemen in terms of civilian casualties.

Syria was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in June; with 779 civilian casualties from such violence last month. This is a continuation in the upward trend in explosive violence harm AOAV has recorded in Syria over the last few months. 80% of civilian casualties last month were due to state use of explosive weapons.

In total, 58% of civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Syria were caused by airstrikes; 14% were from IEDs, and 11% from ground-launched weapons. A further 16% were caused by incidents using both airstrikes and ground shelling. While most airstrikes were conducted by Syria and Russia, civilian casualties were also recorded by US and Israeli airstrikes.

On June 10th 2019, airstrikes launched by Syrian President Assad’s regime and its ally Russia killed 27 civilians, including 11 children, in Idlib, northwestern Syria, and injured more than 70. 71% of all civilian casualties recorded in Syria in June occurred in Idlib.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, saw IEDs cause the most civilian casualties from explosive violence (82%), with a further 11% from ground-launched explosives and 7% from airstrikes. In total, AOAV recorded 176 civilian deaths and injuries in Afghanistan.

Iraq and Nigeria too, both saw the majority of civilian casualties last month caused by IEDs. In Iraq, 57 civilian casualties were due to IEDs, of 78 total casualties. In Nigeria, all 70 civilian casualties recorded from explosive violence were due to a single IED attack. The attack, on June 17, 2019, saw a triple suicide bombing in Nigeria’s Konduga kill at least 30 and injure over 40.

In Yemen, AOAV recorded 108 casualties from explosive weapons in June. Of these, 61 were civilians; 24 were due to Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, while 29 were due to Houthi shelling (24) and mines (9). Further civilian casualties were recorded that resulted from ground-launched weapons; seven from Saudi-backed militia shelling and one child was killed in a grenade incident in Aden by an unknown perpetrator.

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.