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Myanmar: explosive violence in 2022

AOAV’s monitoring project, launched in October 2010, uses English-language media reports to capture information on who has been killed and injured by incidents of explosive violence.  We have over 10 years of explosive violence data recorded and analysed. The data below focuses on Myanmar.

For a detailed overview of the build-up to the military coup and explosive violence in Myanmar in 2021, as well as a timeline of Myanmar’s unrest since the 20th century, take a look at AOAV’s Myanmar conflict briefing.

Explosive Violence in 2022

Since the military coup on 1st February 2021, Myanmar’s military government has responded with increasing violence to both civil and armed resistance. A growing use of air-strikes and artillery to target ethnic armed organisations, People’s Defence Forces, and the civilian networks that sustain them has caused civilian casualties of explosive violence to spike, rising by 178% from 353 in 2021 to 980 over the past year. The number of reported incidents also spiked in 2022, increasing by 429% from 104 to 550. 

56% (308) of incidents took place in populated areas, and 95% (930) of civilians were harmed in these locations. As in 2021, the most affected locations in Myanmar last year were villages and public gatherings, in which 506 and 129 civilian casualties were recorded respectively. 74 civilian casualties were also recorded in places of worship. Villages accounted for 33% of incidents last year, and 52% of civilian casualties of explosive violence in Myanmar.

Non-state actors perpetrated 309 incidents of explosive violence in 2022, causing 140 civilian casualties, or 6% of the total 2,408 casualties of non-state groups in the country. State actors, specifically Myanmar’s military government, caused 758 civilian casualties across 204 incidents. Civilians accounted for 74% of all 1,024 recorded casualties from explosive violence perpetrated by Myanmar’s military government. 

Ground-launched weapons caused 56% (553) of civilian casualties, across 179 incidents, and air-launched weapons caused 21% (202) across 52 incidents. IEDs killed or injured 114 civilians, mines harmed 61 civilians, and combined explosive weapons caused 49 civilian casualties.

Reflecting the state of open hostilities between the military and its allied armed groups on the one hand, and People’s Defence Forces and other ethnic armed organisations on the other, the number of recorded armed actor casualties increased significantly last year. Already in 2021, armed actor casualties rose from 12 to 345, and they increased again to 2,535 in 2022.

A Decade of Data in Review: Myanmar, 2011-2020

  • Myanmar has been the 20th worst-affected state by explosive violence globally over the past decade
  • From 2011-2020, AOAV recorded 1,018 deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Myanmar – of these, 839 (82%) were civilians
  • When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 97% of those killed or injured were civilians
  • Ground-launched weapons caused, by far, the most harm in this period, with 45% of all civilian casualties resulting from this type of explosive
  • IEDs were responsible for 20% of civilian casualties, whilst mines accounted for 19%
  • 2020 was the worst year in this period for civilian casualties in Myanmar, with AOAV recording 365 deaths and injuries from explosive violence.