In April 2021, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,323 deaths and injuries from 226 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 57% (755) of the deaths and injuries recorded.
When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 80% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 20% in other areas.
Improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 63% of these civilian casualties in April 2021, while manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 37%. Of the main launch method types, ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 20% of civilian casualties, air-launched explosive weapons for 2%, and IEDs for 63%. The remaining 2% of civilian casualties were caused by landmines.
At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 25 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Afghanistan, Syria, Myanmar, Somalia and Iraq – in terms of civilian casualties.
Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in April, with 288 civilian casualties recorded from explosive violence. While civilian casualties caused by explosive violence had been decreasing in Afghanistan since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, last month saw a jump in civilian deaths and injuries from explosive weapons in the country; civilian casualties rose 43% from the previous month.
Syria saw a 52% decrease in civilian casualties compared to the previous month. AOAV recorded 94 civilian casualties from explosive weapons in April, compared to 197 in March. Most Syrian civilian casualties in April (61%) were caused by IEDs.
In Myanmar, the number of casualties from explosive violence has increased significantly this year. In April, 119 people were killed or injured by explosive weapons, 78% (93) of those casualties were civilians. April saw the numbers of civilian casualties more than double compared to March, which saw 41 civilian casualties from explosive violence.The number of civilian casualties seen in April (93) account for 60% of the total civilian casualties of explosive violence in Myanmar this year (157). One deadly incident on 10 April 2021 accounted for 82 of the 93 total casualties that month, when state security forces fired grenades and mortars onto demonstrators at a pro-democracy protest in Bago, a town north-east of Yangon city. 82 civilians were killed.
In Somalia, AOAV recorded 79 casualties, of which 71 were civilians. The majority of civilian casualties (61) and all armed actor casualties (8) were caused by IEDs. The rest (10) of the civilian casualties were caused by ground-launched weapons (More specific?).
Similarly, in Iraq and Pakistan most civilian casualties were caused by IEDs. In Iraq, IEDs caused 88% (49) of civilian casualties, out of a total of 56 civilian casualties. In Pakistan, 25 of the 42 civilian casualties recorded from explosive weapons were caused by IED attacks.
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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