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Explosive violence in July 2020

In July 2020, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,625 deaths and injuries from 251 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 59% (948) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 82% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 13% in other areas.

Improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 55% of civilian casualties in June 2020, while manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 45%. Of the main launch method types, ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 31% of civilian casualties, airstrikes for 11%, and IEDs for 55%. The remaining 3% 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 Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Nigeria in terms of civilian casualties.

Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in July with 425 civilian casualties recorded from explosive violence. While civilian casualties have been decreasing in Afghanistan in the last couple of months, last month saw a jump in civilian deaths and injuries from explosive weapons in the country; with civilian casualties rising 73% compared to the previous month.

Syria also saw a slight increase in civilian casualties compared to the downward trend seen in previous months. AOAV recorded 297 civilian casualties from explosive weapons in July, compared to 146 in June. Most civilian casualties were caused by IEDs last month; 217 civilian casualties were caused by such weapons in Syria in July.

In Pakistan AOAV recorded 54 casualties, of which 44 were civilians. The majority (35) were caused by IEDs. On July 23rd 2020, an IED detonated in a busy market in Kurram district and left at least 20 wounded.

While in both Yemen and Nigeria, most civilian casualties were caused by manufactured explosive weapons. In Yemen, 38 of the 43 civilian casualties recorded from explosive weapons were caused by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes. In Nigeria, all 33 civilian casualties recorded were due to a mortar attack on Maiduguri which left 6 killed and 27 injured on July 31st 2020.

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.