LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The number of civilians killed or injured by car and suicide bombs and other improvised explosive devices has surged 70 percent in the three years to 2013, according to data compiled by campaigners.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) said on Wednesday that 13,340 civilians were killed and injured by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2011, compared to 22,735 last year.
Numbers compiled from almost 500 English-language media reports showed that between 2011 and 2013 IEDs killed and injured more than 60,000 people in total and that more than 81 percent of these casualties were civilians, the UK-based organisation said.
AOAV recorded IED incidents in 66 countries and territories in the last three years. Eight of these countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria and Thailand, saw more than 1,000 civilian casualties of IEDs.
Over the last three years 34 percent of civilian casualties from IEDs were caused by suicide bombers, the data showed. Suicide bombs were reported in 26 different countries, causing over 18,000 civilian casualties in the last three years.
New trends show that civilians are at greater risk due to the increased use of large vehicle-borne IEDs and a rise in the numbers of incidents occurring in populated areas, AOAV said.
“The use of suicide and car bombing as a major weapon is spreading, and fast,” Iain Overton, AOAV’s director of investigations, said in a statement. “Countries that had not seen their use five years ago are experiencing their horrors now.”
The figures also showed that:
• In 2013, 62 percent of all IED incidents took place in populated areas, like markets and cafes, compared to 51 percent in 2011.
• Civilians are at much greater risk from IEDs in populated areas: 91 percent of casualties from IEDs in populated areas were civilians, compared to 42 percent in other areas.
• Car bombs are being used more frequently. The proportion of IED attacks involving car bombs rose from 11 percent of all IED incidents in 2011 to 33 percent in 2013. Each car bomb incident caused an average of 25 civilian casualties.
AOAV said its figures are the only dataset used by the United Nations for tracking explosive weapon harm. Given that it is only a snapshot captured from media reports, it presents a low estimate of the real extent of suffering caused by explosives violence, AOAV said.