In May 2020, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,573 deaths and injuries from 264 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 61% (954) of the deaths and injuries recorded.
When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 91% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 17% in other areas.
Manufactured weapons accounted for 61% of civilian casualties in May 2020, while improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for 39%. Of the main launch method types, ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 47% of civilian casualties, airstrikes for 8%, and IEDs for 39%. The remaining 6% of civilian casualties were caused by landmines, naval-launched weapons, and those with an unclear launch method.
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, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Nigeria in terms of civilian casualties.
Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in May with 348 civilian casualties recorded from explosive violence. While casualties had been falling in previous months, May saw an increase in casualties from such violence. As part of a string of deadly attacks across the country, one suicide bombing saw at least 24 killed and 68 injured when a funeral was targeted on May 12th 2020.
Libya also continued to see civilian casualties increase in May, with 254 civilians killed or injured last month by explosive violence. 91% of civilian casualties in Libya were caused by ground-launched explosive weapons. While almost all recorded civilian casualties (94%) occurred in the Tripoli region.
In Syria, civilian casualties continued to fall, with 111 civilian casualties from explosive violence recorded last month. 68% of the casualties in May were due to IEDs. Surprisingly, AOAV recorded zero civilian casualties from airstrikes in Syria last month, though such incidents have already been recorded in June.
While in Somalia, AOAV recorded 56 civilian casualties from explosive weapons. Most were due to IEDs (responsible for 29 civilian casualties) or landmines (23 civilian casualties). In Nigeria, all 34 civilian casualties were due to one incident where Boko Haram used rocket-propelled grenades to target homes in Gajiganna village as families gathered to break the Ramadan fast.
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.
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