Last updated: 16 June 2017

Casualties Overview[1]

All known casualties from January 1990 to end 2016

11,470 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties (2,269 killed; 9,201 injured)

Casualties occurring in 2016

84 (2015: 222)

2016 casualties by survival outcome

14 killed; 70 injured (2015: 32 killed; 190 injured)

2016 casualties by device type

76 antipersonnel improvised mines (victim-activated improvised explosive devices, IEDs); 8 ERW


In 2016, the Department for Comprehensive Action Against Antipersonnel Mines (Dirección para la Acción Integral Contra Minas Antipersonal, DAICMA) recorded 84 mine/ERW casualties.

Notably, 2016 marked the first year since 2000 that the total number of annual casualties recorded in the Republic of Colombia was fewer than 100. The 84 recorded mine/ERW casualties in 2016 represented a 64% decrease on the number of casualties recorded in 2015 (222 casualties), and a 71% decrease on the number of casualties recorded in 2014 (292 casualties). Between 2006 and 2010, the Monitor identified a trend of declining annual casualty rates since the peak of almost 1,200 casualties recorded annually in 2005 and 2006.[2] In 2011 and 2012, the decline slowed with annual casualty totals remaining fairly consistent, at 496 and 549 casualties per year, with a drop once again in 2013 that continued through 2016.

Of the 84 casualties in 2016, 52 (62%) were military and 32 (38%) were civilian.[3] This represented an increase in the percentage of civilian casualties compared to 28% in 2015. Seven (22%) of the 32 civilian casualties were children (six boys; one girl). This compares to 45% child civilian casualties in 2015. There were three female casualties (two women; one girl) in 2016, a similar percentage to 2015.

In 2016, for the first time since 2006, there were no casualties recorded among coca eradicators. From 2006 through the end of 2016, there were at least 381 casualties among coca eradicators. Of these, 372 were civilians and the other nine were military; 42 people were killed and the remaining 339 were injured.

Since 1982, mine/ERW casualties have been recorded in all of Colombia’s 32 departments.[4] In 2016, casualties were recorded in six departments: Antioquia, Arauca, Caqueta, Cauca, Choco, and Norte de Santander.

Nearly all victim-activated explosives that can be triggered by the contact of a person are referred to as antipersonnel mines in the casualty data for Colombia. These casualties have been caused by victim-activated IEDs that act like antipersonnel landmines rather than by industrially manufactured antipersonnel mines.[5] If any accidents occurred in the past as a result of industrially produced landmines, before military bases were cleared of this type of landmine, they have not been recorded as such.[6]

Cluster munition casualties

As identified in Case No. 12.416 (Santo Domingo Massacre versus the Republic of Colombia) heard before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 17 civilians were killed and 27 were injured during a cluster munition strike in Santo Domingo, Colombia, on 13 December 1998.[7] No unexploded submunition casualties have been reported in Colombia.

[1] Department for Comprehensive Action Against Antipersonnel Mines (Dirección para la Acción Integral contra Minas Antipersonal, DAICMA) database, updated to 31 January 2017.

[2] See previous Colombia country profiles available on the Monitor website.

[3] Civilians made up 28% of all casualties in 2015, 35% in 2014, 45% in 2013 and 2012, 37% in 2011, 34% in 2010, and 41% in 2009 and 2008.

[4] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Lucy Johana Salgado Sanchez, Counsellor, DAICMA, 2 September 2015.

[5] ICRC, “Weapon contamination programming Colombia Activities and results achieved in 2010,” Bogota, undated, p. 2, document provided to the Monitor by email from Matthieu Laruelle, Regional Advisor for Latin America, Weapon Contamination Program, ICRC, 20 April 2011.

[6] Email from Camilo Serna, Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas, CCCM), 24 February 2017.

[7] Inter-American Court of Human Rights, “Case: Massacre of Santo Domingo vs. Colombia Sentence of 30 November 2012,” undated.