Explosive violence by Al ShabaabAOAV: all our reportsExplosive violence researchExplosive violence in Somalia

30 killed in Al Shabaab attacks over past week, Somalia

Between the 19th and the 23rd of October, three Al Shabaab car bombs caused at least 30 fatalities and 57 injuries in Somalia’s Hirshabelle and Lower Juba states.

On the afternoon of 19 October, twin car bomb attacks on two key bridges in Hirshabelle’s Hiiraan region resulted in at least 21 deaths. 

In Jalalaqsi, soldiers were inspecting a suspicious vehicle as it arrived at a checkpoint by the town’s main bridge, near local government buildings and an African Union peacekeepers’ base, when the vehicle detonated, killing the driver.  The Mayor and District Commissioner were among the 15 fatalities, as well as two AU peacekeepers and nearby civilians.

In Bulobarde, two motorcycles loaded with explosives were driven onto the town bridge, when one militant jumped off while the other detonated the bombs, dying in the blast. Six others, including four civilians, were killed, and the bridge was partially destroyed.

Al Shabaab immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. 

On the afternoon of  23 October, an explosive-laden vehicle rammed into the gates of Kismayo’s Tawakal Hotel, killing the driver and nine people, and injuring 57 others, including students from the nearby school. A shoot-out ensued, lasting until the evening, when the remaining attackers were neutralised by Somali security forces. 

This latest attack is the 77th incident of intentional explosive weapon use that AOAV has recorded in Somalia in 2022, bringing the toll of reported civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Somalia in 2022 to 721 (247 killed, 474 injured).

The majority of recorded civilian casualties, 96% (694), were caused by non-state actors. Al Shabaab were the reported perpetrators in the case of 79% (573) of recorded civilian casualties.

80% (578) of recorded civilian casualties were reportedly caused by IEDs.

AOAV has recorded 46 incidents of IED attacks in Somalia in 2022, 33% (15) of which were reported as suicide attacks. These suicide attacks caused 77% (443) of recorded civilian casualties of IED attacks in Somalia in that time, and 61% of total recorded civilian casualties of intentional explosive weapon use in Somalia in 2022. 

Al Shabaab were the reported perpetrators of 93% (14) of recorded suicide IED attacks in Somalia in that time, and caused 99% (440) of the recorded civilian casualties of suicide IED attacks.

In total, AOAV has recorded 1,058 incidents of explosive weapon use in Somalia since 2010, and 9,239 reported civilian casualties (3,572 killed, 5,667 injured). IEDs have caused the majority, 73% (6,731), of recorded civilian casualties in that time. 

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

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 effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.