Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombings caused a massive increase in the number of civilian deaths and injuries in Nigeria last year, according to a new report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).
AOAV said the number of fatalities and injuries rose 190 percent in 2015 from the previous year, while the use of human bombs rose 167 percent in the same period.
The London-based non-profit group said the increase was part of a global trend that had seen a rise in civilian casualties from “explosive weapons” for the fourth consecutive year.
“Explosive weapons” include artillery shells, landmines, air strikes, improvised explosive devices, car bombs and suicide attacks.
Of the 3,048 deaths recorded in 84 incidents in Nigeria in 2015, 2,920 were civilian casualties or 96 percent of the total, AOAV said in “Unacceptable Harm — Monitoring Explosive Violence in 2015”.
That made Nigeria the fourth worst-hit country in the world for deaths and injuries from conflict in 2015 behind Syria, Yemen and Iraq, with Afghanistan in fifth.
Assuming the Islamists were behind the attacks, “then it would make them the most prolific user of suicide bombings recorded by the AOAV in 2015”, the report said. However, Boko Haram only rarely claims responsibility for attacks.
Boko Haram has increasingly used suicide bombing in the insurgency, which began in 2009 and has claimed some 20,000 lives, since the military pushed it out of captured territory.