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Explosive violence in April 2020

In April 2020, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,322 deaths and injuries from 243 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 52% (689) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 88% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 16% in other areas.

Manufactured weapons accounted for 59% of civilian casualties in April 2020, while improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and attacks using multiple weapon types accounted for 41%. Of the main launch method types, ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 44% of civilian casualties, airstrikes for 13%, and IEDs for 41%. The remaining 2% of civilian casualties were caused by landmines.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 21 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen and Myanmar in terms of civilian casualties.

Syria, alongside Libya, was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in April, with 145 civilian casualties; down from 217 civilian casualties from such violence in March and 608 in February, as the number of recorded casualties continues to fall. 83% of the casualties last month were due to IEDs, with 90 civilians killed in just one incident in Afrin, when a booby-trapped fuel tanker exploded on April 28th.

Libya also saw at least 145 civilian casualties from explosive violence in April; almost double the previous month as the skies and grounds around Tripoli become increasingly crowded. 92% of civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Libya last month occurred in Tripoli.

Afghanistan saw at least 140 civilian casualties from explosive violence last month as monthly casualties continued to fall. Airstrikes caused at least 29 civilian casualties, while a further 35 were caused by ground-launched explosives, and 76 from IEDs.

Yemen was the fourth-worst impacted country from explosive weapons, with at least 53 civilian casualties; most (49) from ground-launched explosive weapons. While Myanmar saw 51 civilian casualties. 16 were from airstrikes, 34 from shelling and one from a landmine.

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.