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Hiiran, Somalia: 30 killed in three Al Shabaab suicide attacks, 14 Jan

Three suicide attacks on Saturday 14 January killed at least 30 people in Somalia’s central Hiiran region. 

Two car bombs went off simultaneously near a military checkpoint and school in Jalalaqsi, killing at least 12 people and injuring 11. 

In Buulobarde, a car bomb detonated near a police station and military base. At least 18 people were killed and 24 injured. 

AOAV has recorded 100 civilian casualties attributed to explosive weapon use by Al Shabaab in 2023 already (65 killed and 35 injured), and 2022 saw the highest frequency of Al Shabaab explosive violence in Somalia since 2018, as well as the highest number of civilian casualties attributed to Al Shabaab since AOAV started recording in 2010, by  significant margin. 

AOAV has recorded 383 incidents of explosive violence attributed to Al Shabaab in Somalia since 2010, and 5,431 resulting civilian casualties (1,1929 killed and 3,502 injured) – 2022 alone accounts for 19% (1,055) of these.

In total, Al Shabaab are the reported perpetrators of 55% of all 9,894 civilian casualties of explosive weapon use recorded in Somalia since 2010, and 35% of all 1,096 recorded incidents. 

More broadly, 56% (616) of recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Somalia are attributed to non-state actors, and 22% (238) to state actors. Correspondingly, non-state actors are the reported perpetrators of 75% (7,426) of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in the country, and state actors of 5% (454). 

68% (260) of Al Shabaab attacks in Somalia since 2010 have taken place in populated areas, as have 97% (5,251) of their civilian casualties. The locations most targeted by Al Shabaab have been roads, which account for 23% (88) of incidents. Armed bases account for 16% (60) of incidents, and urban residential areas for 8% (32). 

The majority of civilian casualties of Al Shabaab explosive attacks in Somalia, however, occurred in hotels and public buildings, which both account for 20%  of civilian casualties (1,112 and 1,102 respectively).

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.