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Explosive Violence Monthly Reports

Explosive Violence in March 2022


In March 2022, Action on Armed Violence recorded 2,856 deaths and injuries from 216 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 73% (2,074) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 96% (1,995) of the casualties were civilians, compared to 10% (79) in other areas.

Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 71% (1,482) of civilian casualties, while improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 29% (592) of these civilian casualties in March 2022. Of the main launch method types of manufactured explosive weapons, ground-launched explosive weapons for 39% (802) of civilian casualties, air-launched weapons were responsible for 30% (614) of civilian casualties, multiple types of explosive weapons for 3% (60), and landmines were responsible for >1% (6) of civilian casualties.

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 20 countries and territories in March 2022. The five most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Ukraine, Pakistan, Somalia, India, and Myanmar.

UKRAINE

In March 2022, there were 116 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Ukraine, resulting in 1,292 civilian casualties, of whom 844 were killed and 448 injured. There were at least 65 children among the civilian casualties. Civilians accounted for 80% of the total 1,619 casualties, as there were also 327 recorded armed-actor casualties, 161 of whom were killed and 166 injured. 

The majority of civilian casualties, 96% (1,242), occurred in populated areas, compared to 39% (50) in unpopulated areas. Specifically, 29% (377) of recorded civilian casualties occurred in urban residential areas, 23% (300) in entertainment venues, 11% (146) in villages, 9% (110) in  locations in which the detonation of an explosive weapon affects multiple types of spaces within an urban environment, 6% (79) in schools, 6% (78) in public buildings, 6% (76) in hospitals, 3% (33) in commercial premises, >1% (9) in armed bases, >1% (7) on roads, >1% (7) in humanitarian infrastructure, >1% (6) in town centres, >1% (6) in transport related infrastructure, >1% (3) in hotels, >1% (2) on agricultural land, >1% (1) in a market. The remaining 4% (52) of civilian casualties occurred in other or unknown locations. 

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported were Donetsk (439 civilian casualties), Kharkiv (173), Kyiv (152), Chernihiv (139), Mykolaiv (115), Luhansk (106), Sumy (49), Zhytomyr (38), Zaporizhzhia (30), Rivne (29), Dnipropetrovsk (10), Vinnytsia (6), Lviv (5), and Odessa (1). 

The vast majority of civilian casualties, 99% (1,285), were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons. Russian armed forces were the reported perpetrator in the case of 96% (1,241) of civilian casualties. Unknown state forces were the reported perpetrator in the case of 3% (44) civilian casualties. Groups of unknown status and name were the perpetrator in the cases of >1% (7) civilian casualties.

The use of ground-launched explosive weapons were the cause of 49% (630) of civilian casualties, specifically shelling (310), missiles (181), rockets (56), tank shells (56), artillery shells (15), mortars (10), and grenades (2). Air strikes were the cause of 46% (599) of civilian casualties. The combined use of multiple types of explosive weapons (airstrikes and shelling) were the cause of 5% (60) of civilian casualties, and landmines were the cause of >1% (3). 

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

PAKISTAN

In March 2022, there were five recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Pakistan. Across three of these incidents, there were 281 civilian casualties recorded, 59 of whom were killed and 222 injured. Civilians accounted for 86% of the total 321 recorded casualties, as there were also 40 armed-actor casualties recorded, 13 of whom were killed and 27 injured.

All civilian casualties from explosive weapon use occurred in populated areas. The locations in which civilian casualties occurred were a place of worship (250 civilian casualties), commercial premises (28), and public building (3). 

Explosive weapon use and the resulting civilian casualties took place in two provinces in Pakistan in February 2022. These were Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (250 civilian casualties) and Balochistan (31).

Improvised Explosive Devices (278 civilians) and roadside bombs (3), were the cause of all civilian casualties. 

The perpetrator status and group name was unknown in the case of nine civilian casualties (47%). 

Non-state actors were the reported perpetrator in the case of all 281 civilian casualties. Of these non-state actors, the Islamic State in Pakistan were the reported perpetrator of three civilian casualties, and the group was unknown in the case of 278 civilian casualties. 

The number of incidents of explosive weapon use in Pakistan in March saw a decline from February, in which 11 incidents were recorded, to the same number of incidents recorded in January, at five. The number of civilian casualties, however, saw a drastic increase from the previous month, owing to a very high casualty incident recorded on 4 March, in which an IED detonated at a mosque by affiliates of the Islamic State killed and injured at least 250 civilians. 

SOMALIA

In March 2022, there were four incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Somalia. Across two of these incidents, there were 157 civilian casualties recorded, 49 of whom were killed and 108 injured. Civilians accounted for 90% of the total 175 casualties, as there were also 18 armed-actor casualties, 13 of whom were killed, and five injured. 

All of the 157 civilian casualties occurred in populated areas, in a public building (156 civilian casualties), and an urban residential area (1).

The regions in which civilian casualties of explosive weapon use occurred were Hirshabelle (156) and Banaadir (1).

The use of improvised explosive devices were the cause of all 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 156 of the 157 civilian casualties, while the perpetrator group of the remaining one civilian casualty was unknown. 

The number of civilian casualties from explosive weapon use recorded in Somalia last month has risen for a second consecutive month, by 27%, from 124 civilian casualties in February to 157 in March. The number of recorded incidents, however, has fallen, from 10 in February to four in March. This trend is explained by a very high casualty incident recorded in 23 March, in which at least 156 civilians were killed and injured in a twin suicide bombing by members of al-Shabaab, detailed above.

INDIA

In March 2022, there were 16 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in India. Across 11 of these incidents, there were 77 recorded civilian casualties, 19 of whom were killed and 58 injured. These civilian casualties included at least four children, three women, and three men. Civilians accounted for 86% of the total 90 casualties, as there were also 13 recorded armed-actor casualties, one of whom was killed and 12 injured. 

96% (74) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas, and the remaining 4% (3) occurred in areas not reported as populated. 

The locations in which civilian casualties occurred were urban residential areas (61 civilian casualties), villages (11), commercial premises (1), an armed base (1), a market (1), agricultural land (1). No information was provided on the location of one civilian casualty. 

The states in which civilian casualties from explosive weapons were recorded were Jammu and Kashmir (50), Bihar (20), Odisha (3), Chhattisgarh (1), Manipur (1), Uttar Pradesh (1), and West Bengal (1).

55% (42) of civilian casualties were caused by improvised explosive devices. Ground launched weapons, specifically grenades, were the reported cause of 45% (35) of civilian casualties. 

Non-state actors were the reported perpetrator in the case of all civilian casualties, with the CPI (Naxals) specifically named as the perpetrator in the case of one civilian casualty. The perpetrator group name was unknown in the case of 99% (76) of civilian casualties. 

March 2022 saw a relative maintenance in the reported number of incidents of explosive weapon use in India, with 15 incidents recorded in February and 16 in March. However, the number of civilian casualties from explosive weapon use more than tripled, from 20 in February to 77 civilian casualties in March, as the use of grenades and improvised explosive devices in densely populated spaces was more frequent and injurious, particularly in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as Bihar.

MYANMAR

In March 2022, there were 10 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Myanmar. Across eight of these incidents, there were 57 civilian casualties recorded, 39 of whom were killed and 18 injured. Civilian casualties included at least one child and one woman. Civilians accounted for 73% of the total 78 casualties of explosive weapon use, as 21 armed actors were also reportedly killed.

All of the civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. The majority of casualties occurred in villages (32), and civilian casualties were also recorded in places of worship (21), transport related infrastructure (3), and agricultural land (1).

The majority of civilian casualties occurred in Sagaing region (37 civilian casualties), and other regions include Kayin (11), Kayah (5), Yangon (3), and Chin (1). 

Ground-launched weapons, specifically artillery shells and shelling, were the cause of 53 civilian casualties, while improvised explosive devices and landmines were the cause of four civilian casualties. 

Myanmar state military forces were the reported perpetrator in the case of 93% (53) of civilian casualties. Non-state actors were the reported perpetrator in the case of three civilian casualties, though the group name was not reported. The perpetrator status and group name in the case of one civilian casualty was unknown.

There was a notable decline in the number of incidents of explosive weapon use, as well as resulting civilian casualties, recorded in Myanmar in March 2022. The number of recorded incidents fell by 47%, from 19 in February to 10 incidents in March. The number of civilian casualties from explosive weapon use in Myanmar saw a decline of 19%, from 70 in February to 57 civilians in March.



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.