Categories

Explosive Violence Monthly Reports

Explosive Violence in February 2022

In February 2022, Action on Armed Violence recorded 1,510 deaths and injuries from 234 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 52% (786) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 78% (667) of the casualties were civilians, compared to 18% (119) in other areas.

Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 73% (573), while improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 27% (213) of these civilian casualties in February 2022. Of the main launch method types of manufactured explosive weapons, ground-launched explosive weapons for 69% (394) of civilian casualties, air-launched weapons were responsible for 26% (149) of civilian casualties, landmines were responsible for 4% (23), and multiple types of explosive weapons for >1% (5) of civilian casualties.

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 27 countries and territories in February 2022. The five most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Ukraine, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Myanmar.

UKRAINE

In February 2022, there were 32 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Ukraine, resulting in 146 civilian casualties, of whom 73 were killed and 74 injured. Civilians accounted for 67% of the total 219 casualties, as there were also 72 recorded armed-actor casualties, 26 of whom were killed and 46 injured. 

The majority of civilian casualties, 93% (137), occurred in populated areas, compared to 7% (10) in unpopulated areas. Specifically, 46% (67) of recorded civilian casualties occurred in urban residential areas, 13% (19) in hospitals, 13% (19) in locations in which the detonation of an explosive weapon affects multiple types of spaces within an urban environment, 11% (16) in villages, 10% (15) in schools, and 5% (7) in armed bases. The remaining casualties occurred in other or unknown locations. 

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported were Kyiv (48 civilian casualties), Donetsk (47), Kharkiv (18), Sumy (11), Odessa (9), Donbas (7), Kherson (3), Luhansk (3), and Cherkasy (1).

The vast majority of civilian casualties, 97% (143), were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons. Russian armed forces were the reported perpetrator in the case of 93% (132) of civilian casualties. Ukrainian armed forces were the reported perpetrator in 8% (11) of civilian casualties. Non-state actors were the reported perpetrator in the case of four civilian casualties, specifically Ukrainian separatists (2), and Russian-backed forces (2). 

The use of ground-launched explosive weapons were the cause of 75% (109) of civilian casualties, specifically shelling (87), missiles (15), rockets (3) and naval-launched weapons (2). Air strikes were the cause of 27% (40) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties from explosive weapon use in Ukraine saw a drastic increase as a result of the military invasion of Russian armed forces into Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

SYRIA

In February 2022, there were 58 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Syria. Across 31 of these incidents, 142 civilian casualties were recorded, 50 of whom were killed and 92 injured. Civilian casualties reportedly included 28 children and 16 women. Civilians accounted for 55% of the total 260 casualties of explosive weapons, as there were also 118 armed-actor casualties of explosive weapons, 44 of whom were killed and 74 injured. 

When explosive weapon use was recorded in populated areas in Syria, 85% (132) of those killed and injured were civilians. Of the civilian casualties, 93% (132) occurred in populated areas, while 7% (10) were recorded in non-populated areas.

Specifically, 40% (57) occurred in a location in which the detonation of an explosive weapon affects multiple types of spaces within an urban environment, 24% (34) in urban residential areas, 15% (21) in villages, 3% (4) on roads, 3% (4) in an entertainment venue, 2% (3) in transport related infrastructure, and >1% (1) at a hospital.

Civilian casualties were recorded in eight governorates across Syria, namely Aleppo (70), Idlib (33), Hasakah (24), Deir Ezzor (4), Hama (4), Rif Damashq (3), Raqqa (2), and Derik (2).

The use of ground-launched weapons caused 65% of the total civilian casualties. Specifically, these weapons included shelling (42 civilian casualties), artillery shells (39), missiles (5), rockets (4), and mortars (2). Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs) caused 20% (29) of the total civilian casualties. Specifically, these weapons included non-specific IEDs (53), car bombs (37), roadside bombs (22), and landmines (10). Air-launched weapons were the cause of 15% (21) of civilian casualties, specifically airstrikes (10) and air-dropped bombs (11).

State actors were reportedly responsible for 38% (54) of civilian casualties, primarily Turkish armed forces (43) and Syrian state forces (20). Non-state actors were reportedly responsible for 15% (22) of civilian casualties, with the Islamic State the perpetrator in the case of 16 civilian casualties, Syrian factions and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) both in the case of one civilian casualty, respectively. The perpetrator status in the case of 46% (66) of civilian casualties was recorded as unknown.

The number of civilian casualties in Syria in February 2022 has fallen by 7% from January 2022, from 152 civilians to 142. This is the first recorded decline of civilian casualties since November 2021. Armed-actor casualties, on the other hand, increased by 31%, from 90 in January to 118 in February.

SOMALIA

In February 2022, there were ten incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Somalia, nine of which resulted in 124 civilian casualties, 46 of whom were killed and 78 injured. Civilian casualties included at least two children. Civilians accounted for 65% of the total 190 casualties, as there were also 66 armed-actor casualties, all of whom were killed. 

All of the 124 civilian casualties occurred in populated areas in locations such as entertainment venues (53 civilian casualties), urban residential areas (31), a police station (18), roads (18), and villages (4).

The regions in which civilian casualties of explosive weapon use occurred were Banaadir (37), Hirshabelle (33), Bari (13), Lower Juba (13), Puntland (12), Southern region (12), and Middle Shabelle (4).

The use of IEDs, specifically non-specific IEDs (53 civilian casualties), car bombs (37) and roadside bombs (22), were the cause of 90% (112) of civilian casualties. Ground-launched explosive weapons, specifically a mortar attack, caused 10% (12) of civilian casualties.

All civilian casualties were caused by non-state actors’ use of explosive weapons. Al-Shabaab was the reported perpetrator in the case of 91% (113) of civilian casualties, while the perpetrator group of the remaining 9% (11) civilian casualties was unknown. 

The number of civilian casualties from explosive weapon use recorded in Somalia last month has risen substantially, by 226%, from 38 in January 2022 to 124 in February 2022. This is the highest monthly civilian casualty toll recorded in Somalia since January 2021. The number of armed-actor casualties also rose significantly, from four in January to 66 in February. The number of recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Somalia in February 2022 more than doubled from the previous month.

YEMEN

In February 2022, there were 28 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Yemen. Across 22 of these incidents, there were 106 recorded civilian casualties, 29 of whom were killed and 77 injured. Civilian casualties included 12 children and 13 women. Civilians accounted for 60% of the total 177 recorded casualties of explosive weapon use in Yemen in February, as there were also 71 recorded armed-actor casualties, 60 of whom were killed and 11 injured. 

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas in Yemen, all of those killed and injured were civilians, compared to 30% (30) when casualties were recorded in non-populated areas. Of the 106 recorded civilian casualties from explosive weapon use in Yemen, 72% (76)  occurred in populated areas. 

Specifically, 24% (25) of civilian casualties occurred in urban residential areas, 19% (20) in places of worship, 17% (18) in locations in which the detonation of an explosive weapon affects multiple types of spaces within an urban environment, 8% (9) in a village, and 4% (4) in an encampment. The location type was not reported in 28% (30) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties were recorded in six governorates in Yemen, namely Saada (60 civilian casualties), Shabwa (20), Hajjah (11), Taiz (8), Hudaydah (4), and Marib (3).

The use of ground-launched weapons were the cause of 87% (92) of civilian casualties, specifically shelling (47), ground-launched missiles (32), mortars (12), artillery shells (9), and multiple forms of explosive weapons (1). Air-launched explosive weapons caused 10% (11) of civilian casualties, specifically airstrikes. Landmines were the cause of 3% (3) of civilian casualties. 

State actors were the recorded perpetrator of 71% (75) of civilian casualties, primarily Saudi Arabia (48), the Saudi-led coalition (25), and Yemeni forces (2). Non-state actors, specifically Houthi rebels, were the recorded perpetrators of 26% (28) of civilian casualties. The perpetrator status in the case of 3% (3) of civilian casualties was recorded as unknown. 

The number of civilian casualties from explosive weapon use in Yemen in February 2022 fell by 88%, from 589 civilian casualties in January 2022 to 71 in February 2022. This is largely due to the high-casualty airstrike by Saudi Arabia on the detention center in Saada in January. The number of armed-actor casualties has also fallen substantially, by 71%, from January.

MYANMAR

In February 2022, there were 19 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Myanmar. Across ten of these incidents, there were 70 civilian casualties recorded, 13 of whom were killed and 57 injured. Civilian casualties included at least one child and one woman. Civilians accounted for 47% of the total 150 casualties of explosive weapon use, as 60 armed actors were also reportedly killed and 20 injured.

All of the civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. The majority of casualties occurred in a public gathering (40), and the remaining civilian casualties occurred in villages (30).

Ground-launched weapons, specifically grenades and artillery shelling, were the cause of 53 civilian casualties, while air-launched weapons, specifically airstrikes, caused ten civilian casualties, and landmines caused two civilian casualties. The use of multiple types of explosive weapons, specifically the combined use of airstrikes and artillery shelling, resulted in five civilian casualties. 

Myanmar state military forces were the reported perpetrator in the case of 28 of the 70 civilian casualties. Non-state actors were the reported perpetrator in the case of 40 civilian casualties, and the perpetrator status and group name in the case of two civilian casualties was unknown.

There was a 67% increase in the number of civilian casualties from explosive weapons recorded in February 2022 (70), when compared to January 2022 (42), marking the highest monthly civilian casualty figures recorded since April 2021. Armed-actor casualties also increased by 116%, from 37 in January to 80 in February. The number of recorded incidents of explosive weapon use was the same in February as in January, at 19 incidents. This is among the highest number of incidents recorded in the last year.


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.