Yemen has the highest rate of mass shootings per 10 million people.
Yemen has the highest rate of mass shootings per 10 million people.

Mass shootings: The place to avoid more than the US

THE United States is referred to in its national anthem as the land of the free and home of the brave - but it's also home to the world's highest rate of mass shootings.

Or is it?

The US has more public mass shootings than anywhere else in the world by far, with the most recent incident leaving 26 people dead and around 20 injured in a Texas church on Sunday.

The Victims of Texas gun laws: Texas has one of the most lax gun laws of all the US.
The Victims of Texas gun laws: Texas has one of the most lax gun laws of all the US.

The New York Times reported that from 1966 to 2012, 31 per cent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama. And there have been many more since.

But it's another country that has the highest rate of shooting deaths in the world when the figures are broken down per capita.

Yemen, home to the world's second-largest gun-owning population per capita, has the highest rate of mass shootings among countries with more than 10 million people.

According to the University of Alabama's Small Arms Survey, Yemen has experienced more than 40 mass shootings per 100 million people, compared to the US which has had less than 30 per the same study size.

There are approximately 55 guns for every 100 people in Yemen compared to about 89 for every 100 in the US, according to the survey. The Arab country might be second only to the US in gun ownership but it's second to none when it comes to gun culture. The Saudi-led, US supported coalition in Yemen is enmeshed in a two-year long fight against Iran-backed rebels, with al-Qeda and Islamic State exploiting the chaos to maintain a hold on the Arabian Peninsula. Thousands of children, women and men have been massacred in that time.


The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million Yemenis in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of famine and cholera causing more than 2,000 deaths.

The Saudi-led Arab military coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to support President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Huthis forced him into exile.

Last month, the United Nations put the coalition on its blacklist for killing and maiming 683 children during the conflict last year and for carrying out 38 verified attacks on schools and hospitals.

The UN's rights office said 5,295 civilians had been killed in Yemen since the coalition offensive began, and 8,873 have been injured.

Yemen and Saudi Arabia have been in a two year conflict.
Yemen and Saudi Arabia have been in a two year conflict.

Drive-by shootings are also common place in Yemen.

Less than two weeks ago, a Muslim cleric was shot dead in the Yemeni city of Aden, the latest in a recent spike in attacks targeting security forces, politicians and clergymen.

The attackers were driving in a car when they opened fire on Adel al-Shihri, an imam at an Aden mosque, before fleeing the scene, security sources said on condition of anonymity.

Al-Shihri had been on his way to the mosque for prayer when he was shot, and died immediately, independent news portal Aden al-Ghad said, citing witnesses.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

The victim was also an employee at a local private school whose manager was shot dead a week earlier, according to Aden al-Ghad.

Aden is the provisional capital of Yemen's Saudi-backed government, which has been locked in a devastating civil war with the Iran-allied Houthi rebels for nearly three years.

The rebels still control the capital Sana'a and other territories in Yemen.

Yemen's conflict has intensified since March 2015, when Houthi militants advanced on Aden, prompting Saudi Arabia and Sunni allies to start an air campaign against the mostly Shi'ite group.

Saudis fear that the rebels will give its regional rival, Shi'ite Iran, a strategic foothold on the Arabian Peninsula.