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Suicide bomb targeting market in Pakistan’s Quetta kills 20

On April 12th 2019, a suicide bomb was detonated in an open-air market in the Pakistani city of Quetta, killing 20 and wounding 48. At least two of the dead were children.

It has been reported that both ISIS and a faction of the Pakistani Taliban have since claimed responsibility for the attack. The Deputy Inspector General of Quetta Police, Abdul Razzaq Cheema, has stated that the explosion was targeted at the Hazara community of minority Shiite Muslims.

Protests calling for enhanced security measures from the government began on Friday following the attack after the community has been targeted many times in recent years by militant groups.

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) have been recording the casualties from explosive violence across the globe since October 2010.

Pakistan saw a significant decrease in civilian harm from explosive violence in 2018 compared to that of the previous year, with casualties falling from 2,255 to 1,215, a 46% drop.

Civilians also accounted for a lesser number of the total casualties caused by explosive violence in 2018 compared to that of 2017, falling from 87% to 77%.  In total, 1,583 casualties were recorded in 171 incidents of explosive violence – civilians accounted for 1,215 of the casualties.

Pakistan has consistently been one of the state’s worst impacted by explosive violence since AOAV’s monitors began, predominantly due to the harm from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In 2018, IEDs remained responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in Pakistan; accounting for 69% of civilian deaths and injuries from explosive weapons.

AOAV strongly condemns the attack in Quetta and urgently calls for states to collaborate to address the threat of IED attacks. The use of explosive weaponry in populated areas has far reaching implications and preventative measures must be implemented to reduce the serious impact on civilians.