Nagorno-Karabakh: nocturnal bombardments despite the ceasefire


Armenian separatist forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the Azerbaijani army accused each other on Sunday of bombing civilian areas, causing casualties, on the second day Sunday of a humanitarian truce that has still not taken hold.

Seven people were killed in bombings on the city of Gandja in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani diplomacy said Sunday, accusing the Armenian forces, despite the humanitarian truce supposed to be in effect in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“New missile attack by Armenian forces on a residential area in Gandja, the second largest city in Azerbaijan, seven dead and 33 injured,” the Foreign Minister said on his Twitter account, posting the photos of the destruction. The attorney general’s office said an apartment building was hit, denouncing a “deliberate attack on the civilian population”.

” It’s a lie “

On site, rescuers wearing red helmets were rummaging with their bare hands in the rubble of a building. Weeping women attended the scene. In total, nine apartments were destroyed, according to witnesses, by a strike at 02:00 local time (22:00 GMT).

“Everything I have worked for my whole life has been destroyed,” laments Zaguit Aliev, a 68-year-old resident.

The defense ministry of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh then denied having bombed Gandja. “It is an absolute lie”, he said, assuring “to respect the humanitarian ceasefire agreement” and accusing the Azerbaijani side of having hit “Stepanakert, Hadrut, Martouni and other areas. populated ”.

The capital of the Nagaorny Karabakh region, Stepanakert, was the target of strikes overnight from Saturday to Sunday, according to AFP journalists on the spot who counted three to four waves of shelling, followed by a dozen. ‘explosions.

“This morning, it’s calmer, but that can change”

A humanitarian truce to allow the exchange of bodies of soldiers and prisoners came into effect at noon (0800 GMT) on Saturday, but the two camps were already accusing each other on Saturday of not sticking to it.

The Armenian leader of the separatist territory of Nagorno Karabakh is optimistic and said Sunday that the situation was “calmer” than the day before on the front opposing his forces to those of Azerbaijan, on the second day of a fragile truce.

“Yesterday we all saw that there was no ceasefire. It seems that since this morning, it is calmer, but that can change very quickly “, declared Araïk Haroutiounian, the separatist president, during a press conference, noting nevertheless of” some exchanges of fire and mortars “.

Nagorno Karabakh, a territory mainly populated by Armenians, seceded from Azerbaijan after a war that left 30,000 dead in the 1990s. Baku accuses Yerevan of occupying its territory, and the attacks of violence are regular .

The fighting between Nagorno Karabakh troops, supported by Yerevan, and Azerbaijani forces since September 27, has been the most serious since the 1994 ceasefire. More than 450 deaths have been recorded, including around sixty civilians, a toll which could in reality be much heavier, Azerbaijan not publishing a toll of its soldiers killed and each camp claiming to have killed thousands of opposing soldiers.

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