Explosive violence researchAOAV: all our reportsExplosive violence in Somalia

Somalia: at least 20 civilians killed and 50 injured in truck bomb explosion, Hirshabelle

On Sunday 24 September, a suicide truck bomb exploded at a checkpoint in Beledweyne city’s Nur Hawaad neighbourhood. The truck was stopped after refusing to pay the tax, following which the bomb was detonated, damaging homes, commercial buildings, and civilian infrastructure within a 1 km radius.

The explosion killed up to 30 people, and injured at least 50, including children. 10 security personnel are among the fatalities. This toll is expected to rise, as many people are missing and many are in critical condition.

Photograph: Horn Observer

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Al Shabaab is the primary suspect so far.

2023 is already the third worst year for civilian casualties of explosive violence in Somalia since 2010, with 1,257 civilians harmed across 132 incidents so far this year (386 killed, 871 injured). 

90% (1,126) of civilians harmed in explosive violence incidents in Somalia this year were killed and injured by non-state actors, who are responsible for 77% (102) of incidents.  25% (25) of those incidents were suicide attacks, which killed and injured 286 civilians.

Al Shabaab are the reported perpetrators of 24 of the 25 suicide attacks recorded in Somalia this year, resulting in the death and injury of 226 civilians. 

The worst impacted locations for civilian casualties of non-state actors’ explosive weapon use in Somalia this year are urban residential areas, which account for 60% (677) of civilians harmed in these attacks. Non-state attacks which impacted multiple urban locations caused 23% (258) of civilian casualties, while 3% of the 1,126 civilian casualties took place in armed bases (37), public buildings (34), and hotels (33) respectively, 2% on public transport (26) and in entertainment venues (21) respectively, 1% in villages (15), hospitals (12), and roads (10) respectively, and less than 1% in commercial premises (2), and where no location information was provided (1). 

Non-state actors have reportedly been responsible for 58% (705) of recorded incidents of explosive violence in Somalia since 2010, and 77% (8,455) of civilian casualties. Al Shabaab have been the reported perpetrators of 62% (439) of those incidents, and 66% (5,605) of those civilian casualties.

Overall, 11,005 civilians have been killed and injured across 1,209 incidents recorded in Somalia since AOAV began recording in 2010.

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.