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An Anatomy of a Landmine BlastAn Anatomy of an Explosive Weapon AttackAOAV: all our reports

An Anatomy of a Landmine Blast: Global Trends

There were 822 incidents of landmine explosions recorded from English-language media between 2011 and 2020, causing 2,524 casualties across 40 countries.

60% (1,515) of these were civilians. 57% (870) of these civilian casualties were fatal, meaning the majority of civilian landmine incidents that are reported in English-language media were fatal. Of course, due the frequency and remote location of incidents, numerous non-fatal landmine explosions will have gone unreported over the decade. 

Of all recorded victims (armed actors and civilians) 1,304 were killed and 1,220 injured. 

When gender was specified amongst adult casualties, at least 118 women were harmed – around 8% of the civilian casualty total. This correlates with data from The Landmine Monitor which showed men and boys make up 85% of landmine casualties. 

*Where gender is known

There were at least 303 casualties recorded as children – one-fifth of the civilian casualty total. When gender was specified, 84 were boys (73%) and 31 were girls (27%). 

Most commonly, as they are victim-activated devices with a small quantity of explosives, landmines produce a single casualty, in 38% of incidents to be precise. Just over one in five (22%) of cases result in two casualties. The average casualty rate over the decade is three per landmine incident and 1.6 deaths. 

Despite this low casualty rate per incident, some explosions recorded have caused mass casualties, with one landmine killing 26 civilians in a passenger vehicle in central Mali in 2018.  

Total number of casualties per incidentFrequency
1314
2188
3108
462
536
631
725
818
96
10-1521
16+13

For the majority of incidents (62%), it was unclear whether the explosion occurred in a populated area. In the 262 landmine detonations in populated areas, there were 851 casualties in total – 80% of these were civilians. Attacks in non-populated areas produced 155 casualties, 59% (91) of which were civilians, providing further evidence towards the trend seen in AOAV’s decade of data – that explosive weapon attacks in populated areas are significantly more harmful to civilians than in non-populated areas.

Hotspots 

In terms of the most reported in English-language media, Syria was the worst affected country over the decade, suffering 42% of incidents and 35% of total casualties.

It’s worth noting that the number of incidents recorded by The Landmine Monitor is much higher. This reflects a difference in recording methodology. Theirs is focused specifically on landmines or explosive remnants of war, whereas AOAV’s data covers all types of explosive  which are reported in English-language news media. 

In 2019, The Landmine Monitor recorded 7,331 anti-personnel landmine casualties, AOAV recorded 399. That’s more than 18 times as many landmine casualties that AOAV has recorded. 

However, broadly the trends are the same. That year, for example, Afghanistan, Mali, Ukraine, Myanmar both feature in the list of ten countries with the most landmine casualties. Interestingly, Colombia and Iraq do not feature in AOAV’s top ten, reflecting the level of English-language reporting of such incidents in those countries.  

CountryNo. of incidentsSum of Total casualties
Syria342873
Pakistan66190
Burma78188
India62146
Mali23137
Afghanistan30130
Ukraine32114
Yemen2892
Somalia1492
Philippines1988

Perpetrators 

Due to the subtle and often historical origins of a landmine’s priming, the perpetrator is unknown in the vast majority (84%) of recorded incidents. In the 131 cases that it is known: India, the Houthi rebels and ISIS were the three most common perpetrators of landmine harm. 

Report continues:

Chapter 2: Case Study – Wacha Khwara, Pakistan
Chapter 3: SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Chapter 4: SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
Chapter 5: SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being
Chapter 6: SDG 4 – Quality Education
Chapter 7: Other Considerations
Conclusion and Recommendations