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Explosive violence in March 2020

In March 2020, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,280 deaths and injuries from 250 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 52% (669) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 85% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 15% in other areas.

Manufactured weapons accounted for 67% of civilian casualties in March 2020, while improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for 28% and attacks using multiple weapon types accounted for 5%. Of the main launch method types, ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 31% of civilian casualties, airstrikes for 26%, and IEDs for 28%. The remaining 14% of civilian casualties were caused by landmines, naval-launched explosives and attacks using multiple or unclear launch methods.

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, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Libya and Yemen in terms of civilian casualties.

Syria was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in March, with 217 civilian casualties; down from 608 civilian casualties from such violence in February. 77% of the casualties last month were due to manufactured explosive weapons. Airstrikes accounted for 33% of civilian casualties, ground-launched explosives accounted for 28%, and IEDs for 23%. A further 17% were caused by landmines and explosive weapons with unclear launch methods.

Aleppo and Idlib were the worst impacted areas in Syria last month. 77% of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons in Syria, occurred in the provinces of Idlib (with 91 civilian casualties) or Aleppo (with 77 civilian casualties).

Afghanistan also saw at least 169 civilian casualties from explosive violence last month; monthly casualties continued to decrease. Airstrikes caused at least 19 civilian casualties in Afghanistan last month, while a further 40 were caused by ground-launched explosives, 77 by IEDs and 33 by incidents with multiple launch methods.

Myanmar has seen increasing numbers of casualties from explosive violence over 2020. Last month, there were at least 89 civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Myanmar; 70 were caused by airstrikes.

Libya was the fourth-worst impacted country from explosive weapons, with at least 66 civilian casualties. While Yemen saw 41 casualties, including at least 28 civilian casualties.

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.