On Sunday 5 June, gunmen with explosive devices attacked St Francis Catholic Church, in Owo, during morning mass. No figures have been officially confirmed, but doctors on the ground claim at least 50 people, including women and children, have been killed, and some 48 injured.
The assailants shot at people as they exited the church, before detonating explosives.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
While Ondo has witnessed an increasingly violent conflict between farmers and nomadic herders, the state has been relatively peaceful in terms of broader security issues and explosive violence. This attack is reminiscent of the recent spate of IED explosions in Kano and Kogi.
Since January 2022, AOAV has recorded 28 incidents of explosive violence in Nigeria, which have caused 176 civilian casualties as reported in English-language media. June is already the month with the second-highest casualty count for explosive violence in Nigeria in 2022.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which include non-specific IEDs, roadside bombs, and car bombs, have caused 91% of reported civilian casualties of explosive violence in Nigeria in 2022. Non-state actors have caused 97% of civilian casualties of explosive violence recorded in Nigeria in 2022.
This is the first incident of explosive violence in a place of worship recorded in Nigeria in 2022. However, since 2010, AOAV has recorded 45 incidents of explosive violence in places of worship in Nigeria, which have caused a reported 1,897 civilian casualties.
Globally, AOAV has recorded 642 incidents of explosive violence in places of worship, which have caused a reported 19,642 civilian casualties. The five most affected countries for explosive violence in places of worship since 2010 are Iraq (4,219 civilian casualties); Pakistan (3,838); Afghanistan (3,300); Syria (1,911); and Nigeria (1,897).
IEDs (non-specific, car bombs, and roadside bombs) are globally responsible for 77% of recorded civilian casualties of explosive violence in places of worship since 2010.
63% of civilian casualties in places of worship since 2010 have been attributed to non-state actors.
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.
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