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Explosive Violence in December 2022

In December 2022, Action on Armed Violence recorded 2,682 deaths and injuries from 390 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 54% (1,444) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 67% (1,327) of the casualties were civilians, compared to 17% (117) in other areas.

Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 83% (1,192) of civilian casualties, while improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 13% (191) of these civilian casualties in December 2022. Of the main launch method types of manufactured explosive weapons, ground-launched explosive weapons accounted for 73% (1,049) of civilian casualties, air-launched weapons were responsible for 8% (110) of civilian casualties, and landmines were responsible for <1%% (1) of civilian casualties.

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 25 countries and territories in December 2022. The five most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Ukraine, Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Syria.

UKRAINE

In December 2022, there were 195 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Ukraine, 189 of which resulted in 878 civilian casualties, of whom 279 were killed and 599 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 17 children and 23 women. Civilians accounted for 73% of all 1,199 casualties recorded in December, as there were 321 armed-actor casualties, of whom 153 were killed and 168 injured.

The majority of civilian casualties, 90% (794), occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 40% (354) occurred across multiple urban areas, 24% (209) in urban residential areas, 16% (138) in villages, 4% (36) in schools, 1% (13) in humanitarian infrastructure, 1% (12) in town centres, 1% (9) in public buildings and other locations respectively, and <1% in hospitals (3), hotels (3), roads (3), places of worship (2), entertainment venues (2), and commercial premises (1). 

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported in Ukraine were Kherson (272 civilian casualties), Donetsk (234), Luhansk (152), Kharkiv (56), Zaporizhzhia (46), Dnipropetrovsk (44), Kyiv (38), Khmelnytskyi (18), Mykolaiv (10), Odesa (5), Chernihiv (1), Ivano-Frankivsk (1), and Sumy (1).

The vast majority of civilian casualties, 98% (863), were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons. Specifically, Russian armed forces reportedly caused 75% (656) of civilian casualties and Ukraine’s armed forces 24% (207). Perpetrators of unknown status and name reportedly caused 1% (9) of civilian casualties, and unknown non-state armed groups caused <1% (6) of civilian casualties.

The use of ground-launched explosive weapons were the cause of 91% (803) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific shelling (541 civilian casualties), combined ground-launched weapons (125), missiles (53), artillery shells (49), rockets (33), and mortars (2).  IEDs caused 1% (12) of civilian casualties, specifically roadside bombs (5), non-specific IEDs (5), and car bombs (2). Mines, specifically landmines, caused 1% (11) of civilian casualties. Air-launched weapons caused 1% (8) of civilian casualties, specifically air-strikes (5 civilian casualties) and missiles (3). 5% (44) of civilian casualties were caused by missiles of unclear launch method.

The number of incidents of explosive weapon use in Ukraine in December decreased from November, in which 223 incidents were recorded. However, fewer civilian casualties, 722, were recorded in November, of which 171 killed and 551 injured). In October, 233 incidents  caused 1,013 civilian casualties (298 killed and 715 injured). 

PAKISTAN

In December 2022, there were 15 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Pakistan, 12 of which caused 116 civilian casualties, 14 of whom were killed and 102 injured. Civilian casualties included at least one woman and four children. Civilians accounted for 75% of the total 154 casualties of explosive weapon use, as 38 armed-actor casualties were also recorded, 18 of whom were killed and 20 injured.

All civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 48% (56) occurred in urban residential areas, 33% (38) in commercial premises, 14% (16) in police stations, 3% (3) in urban residential areas, 2% (2) on roads, and <1% (1) in markets.

The provinces in which the most civilian casualties were reported in Pakistan were Balochistan (97 civilian casualties), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (12), and Islamabad (7). 

The majority of civilian casualties, 57% (66), were caused by non-state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically unknown non-state actors (56 civilian casualties), and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (10). State actors caused 42% (49) of civilian casualties, specifically unknown state actors (33 civilian casualties) and Afghanistan (16). Actors of unknown name and status caused <1% (1) of civilian casualties.

Ground-launched weapons caused 59% (68) of civilian casualties, specifically multiple ground-launched weapons (33 civilian casualties), grenades (19), and non-specific shelling (16). IEDs caused 41%(48) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific IEDs (41 civilian casualties) and car bombs (7).

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Pakistan in December rose considerably compared to November, when nine incidents caused 19 reported civilian casualties (10 killed, 9 injured). In October, 13 incidents of explosive weapon use were recorded, which resulted in 28 reported civilian casualties (seven killed, 21 injured).

NIGERIA

In December 2022, there were seven recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Nigeria, four of which caused 87 civilian casualties, 69 of whom were killed and 18 injured. Civilian casualties included at least one child. Civilians accounted for 20% of the total 443 casualties of explosive weapon use, as 256 armed-actors were also killed.

98% (85) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 87% (76) occurred in villages, and 10% (10) in urban residential areas.The remaining 2% (2) of civilian casualties occurred on unpopulated roads.

The states in which the most civilian casualties were reported in Nigeria were Zamfara (76 civilian casualties), Kogi (6), Borno (3), and Niger (2).

The majority of civilian casualties, 87% (76), were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically the Nigerian Air Force. Non-state actors caused 13% (11) of civilian casualties, specifically ISWAP (6 civilian casualties), and unknown non-state actors (5).

Air-launched weapons were the cause of 87% (76) of civilian casualties, specifically air-strikes. IEDs caused 10% (9) of civilian casualties, specifically car bombs (6 civilian casualties), and non-specific IEDs (3). Mines, specifically landmines (2), caused 2% of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Nigeria in December rose considerably compared to November, when 10 incidents caused seven reported civilian casualties (six killed, one injured). In October, four incidents of explosive weapon use were recorded, and they caused no civilian casualties.

YEMEN

In December 2022, there were 15 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Yemen, 10 of which resulted in 77 civilian casualties, of whom 20 were killed and 57 injured. Civilians accounted for 76% of the total 101 casualties, as there were also 24 recorded armed-actor casualties, eight of whom were killed and 16 injured.

79% (61) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 27% (21) occurred in places of worship, 23% (18) in villages, 18% (14) at public gatherings, and 10% in agricultural lands. 

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported in Yemen were Saada (34 civilian casualties), Hadramout (21), Marib (14), and Hudaydah (8).

The majority of civilian casualties, 53% (41), were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons, Saudi Arabia. Non-state actors, specifically unknown non-state actors, caused 36% (28) of civilian casualties, and actors of unknown name and status caused 10% (8).

The majority, 90% (69), of civilian casualties were caused by ground-launched weapons, specifically artillery shells (38), grenades (21), and non-specific shelling (10). Mines, specifically landmines, caused 10% (8) of civilian casualties. 

Incidents of explosive weapon use in Yemen in December increased since November, when 10 incidents were recorded, resulting in 30 civilian casualties (seven killed, 23 injured). In October,  23 incidents were recorded, causing 44 civilian casualties (14 killed, 30 injured).

SYRIA

In December 2022, there were 44 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Syria, 22 of which resulted in 60 civilian casualties, 27 of whom were killed and 33 injured. At least five women and 12 children were reportedly among the civilian casualties. Civilians accounted for 50% of the total 119 casualties, as there were also 59 recorded armed-actor casualties, 42 of whom were killed and 17 injured.

The majority of civilian casualties, 95% (57), occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 40% (24) occurred in villages, 18% (12) on public transport, 12% (7) in urban residential areas, 10% (6) in agricultural lands, 7% (4) in commercial premises, 3% (2) in other locations, and 2% (1) on roads and in schools respectively.

The regions where civilian casualties of explosive weapon use were recorded in Syria were Deir Ezzor (14 civilian casualties), Idlib (12), Aleppo (12), Raqqa (11), Hasakah (5), Suweida (2), Latakia (2), Homs (1), and Daraa (1). 

The majority of civilian casualties, 53% (32), were reportedly caused by state use of explosive weapons, specifically Turkey (15 civilian casualties), Syria (14), the international coalition (2), and unknown state actors (1).  Non-state actors caused 37% (22) of civilian casualties, specifically ISIS (13 civilian casualties), unknown non-state actors (6), and the Syrian National Army (3). Actors of unknown name and status caused 10% (6) of civilian casualties.

The majority of civilian casualties, 25% (15), were caused by IED, specifically roadside bombs (12 civilian casualties), non-specific IEDs (2), and car bombs (1). Ground-launched weapons caused 23% (14) of civilian casualties, specifically artillery shelling (9 civilian casualties), grenades (3), non-specific shelling (1), and combined ground-launched weapons (1). Air-launched weapons, specifically air-strikes, caused 20% (12) of civilian casualties. Weapons of unclear launch method caused 28% (17) of civilian casualties, specifically missiles (13 civilian casualties), and rockets (4). Mines, specifically landmines, caused 3% (2) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Syria in December 2022 saw a considerable decrease compared to November, when 73 incidents caused 175 reported civilian casualties (31 killed, 144 injured). In October, 74 incidents were recorded, which resulted in 91 civilian casualties (23 killed, 68 injured).



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.