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Nigeria: 32 civilians killed and 100 injured in multiple suicide bombings in Gwoza town, Borno

On Saturday 29th June, multiple suicide bombings in the town of Gwoza, in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, resulted in at least 32 deaths and more than 100 injuries, 26 of whom remain hospitalised.

The attacks were carried out by three female suicide bombers and targeted a wedding reception, a burial ceremony and a hospital. It has been reported that among the casualties are children, men, women and several pregnant women.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu stated his administration would strengthen its efforts to “to ensure that those who trouble the nation, dispatching precious lives, and disrupting law and order are completely removed.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Boko Haram and its splinter group, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), have previously carried out deadly attacks in Borno. The group seized the town of Gwoza in 2014 and remain active throughout the state.

Borno remains at the centre of a 15-year insurgency by Boko Haram militants which has led to the displacement of more than two million people and killed more than 40,000 across the state. Additionally, Boko Haram has a documented history of deploying young women and girls as to carry out suicide attacks.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have inflicted more civilian harm than any other type of explosive ordnance in Nigeria between 2013 and 2024, accounting for 87% of all recorded civilian casualties within that time. From 2013 to 2024, Action on Armed Violence documented 354 IED incidents in Nigeria, resulting in 7,951 civilian casualties. More than half of these incidents (207) occurred in Borno State, which alone accounted for 45% (3,600) of the total civilian casualties.

AOAV recorded that non-state actors and actors of unknown name and status were each responsible for 50% of civilian casualties caused by IEDs between 2013 and 2024.

Although IED attacks significantly decreased between 2016 and 2021, the number of incidents has risen again in recent years, with 301 civilian casualties recorded in 2024 so far.

YearIncidentsCivilian Casualties
Table 1: Number of incidents and civilian casualties caused by IEDs in Nigeria 2013-2024

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.