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Le Monde, 14 March 1992

The foreign journalist in Aghdam saw the women and three scalped children with the pulled off nails among the killed people. This is not “Azerbaijani propaganda”, but reality.

 

Newsweek, 16 March 1992 “THE FACE OF A MASSACRE”

By Pascal Privat with Steve Le Vine in Moscow

Azerbaijan was a charnel house again last week: a place of mourning refugees and dozens of man­gled corpses dragged to a makeshift morgue be­hind the mosque. They were ordinary Azerbaijani men, women and children of Khojaly, a small village in war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh overrun by Armenian forces on Feb. 25-26. Many were killed at close range while trying to flee; some had their faces muti­lated, others were scalped. While the victims’ families mourned.

 

The Age (Melbourne), 6 March 1992

By Helen Womack, Agdam, Azerbaijan, Thurs­day

The exact number of victims is still unclear, but there can be little doubt that Azeri civilians were massacred by Armenian Army in the snowy mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh last week.

Refugees from the ent lave town of Khojaly, sheltering in the Azeri border town of Agdam, give largely consistent accounts of how Armeni­ans attacked their homes on the night of 25 Feb­ruary, chased those who fled and shot them in the surrounding forests. Yesterday, I saw 75 freshly dug graves in one cemetery in addition to four mutilated corpses we were shown in the mosque when we arrived in Agdam late on Tuesday. I also saw women and children with bullet wounds in a makeshift hospital in a string of railway carriages.

Khojaly, an Azeri settlement in the enclave mostly populated by Armenians, had a popula­tion of about 6000. Mr. Rashid Mamedov, Com­mander of Police in Agdam, said only about 500 escaped to his town. “So where are the rest?” Some might have taken prisoner, he said, or fled. Many bodtes were still lytng in the mountains because the Azeris were short of hel icopters to retrieve them. He believed more than 1000 had perished, some of cold in temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees. When Azeris saw the Armenians with a convoy of armoured personnel carriers, they realized they could not hope to defend themselves, and fled into the forests. In the small hours, the mas- sa cre started.

Mr. Nasiru, who believes his wife and two chil­dren were taken prisoner, repeated what many other refugees have said - that troops of the for­mer Soviet army helped the Armenians to attack Khojaly. “It is not my opinion, I saw it with my own eyes”.

 

The Boston Globe, 3 March 1992

By Paul Quinn-Judge, Baku, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan charged yesterday that Armenian mili t ants massacred men, women and children after forcing them from a town in Nagorno-Karabagh last week.

Azerbaijani officials said 1000 Azeris had been killed in town of Khojaly and that Armenian fighters then slaughtered men, women and chil­dren fleeing across snow-covered mountain passes.

Armenian officials disputed the death toll and denied the massacre report.

Journalästs on the scene said it was difficult to say exactly how many people had been killed in surrounding areas. But a Reuters photographer said he saw two trucks filled with Azeri corpses, and a Russian journalist reported massacre sites elsewhere in the area.

Azeri officials and journalists who flew briefly to the region by helicopter recovered the bodies of three dead children who had been shot in the head, Reuters said, but Armenians prevented them from retrieving more bodies.

There were growtng signs that many civilians were killed during the capture of Khojaly.

Footage shot by Azerbaijan Television Sunday showed about 10 dead bodies, including several women and children, in an improvised morgue in Agdam. An editor at the main television station in Baku said 180 bodies had been recovered so far. A heticopter flytng over the vicimty is re­ported to have seen other corpses, while the BBC quoted a French photographer who said that he had counted 31 dead, including women and chil­dren, some who appeared as though they were shot in the head at close range.

 Meanwhile, the mayor of Khojaly, Elmar Mamedov, said at a news conference in Baku that 1000 people had died in the attack, 200 more were missing, 300 had been taken hostage, and 200 were injured. Armored personnel carriers of the 366th spearheaded the attack, Mamedov charged, and cleared the way for Armenian irregulars.

 

 

The Independent (London), 12 June 1992

By Frederique Lengaigne/Reuter

Aref Sadikov sat quietly in the shade of a cafe-bar on the Caspian Sea esplanade of Baku and showed a line of stitches in his trousers, torn by an Armenian bul let as he fled the town of Hojali just over three months ago, writes Hugh Pope.

“I’m still wearing the same clothes, I don’t have any others”, the 51-years-old carpenter said, be­ginning his account of the Hojali disaster. “I was wounded in five places, but I am lucky to be alive”.

Mr. Sadikov and his wife were short of food, without electrictty for more than a month, and cut off from helicopter flights for 12 days. They sensed the Armenian noose was tightening around the 2,000 to 3,000 people left in the strag­gling Azeri town on the edge of Karabakh.

“At about 11pm a bombardment started such as we had never heard before, eight or nine kinds of weapons, artillery, heavy machine-guns, the lot”, Mr. Sadikov said.

Soon neighbours were pouring down the street from the direction of the attack. Some huddled in shelters but others started fleeing the town, down a hill, through a stream and through the snow into a forest on the other side.

To escape, the townspeople had to reach the Azeri town of Agdam about 15 miles away. They thought they were going to make it, until at about dawn they reached a bottleneck between the two Azeri villages of Nakhchivanik and Saderak.

“None of my group was hurt up to then... Then we were spotted by a car on the road, and the Ar­menian outposts started opening fire”, Mr. Sadikov said. Mr. Sadikov said only 10 people from his group of 80 made it through, including his wife and militiaman son. Seven of his imme­diate relations died, including his 67-years-old elder brother.

“I only had time to reach down and cover his face with his hat”, he said, pulltng his own big flat Turkish cap over his eyes. “We have never got any of the bodies back”.

The first groups were lucky to have the benefit of covering fire. One hero of the evacuation, Alif Hajief, was shot dead as he struggled to change a magazine while covering the third group’s cross­ing, Mr Sadikov said.

Another hero, Elman Memmedov, the mayor of Hojali, said he and several others spent the whole day of 26 Febmary in the bushy hillside, sur­rounded by dead bodtes as they tried to keep three Armenian armoured personnel carriers at bay.

As the survivors staggered the last mile into Agdam, there was little comfort in a town from which most of the population was soon to flee.

“The night after we reached the town there was a big Armenian rocket attack. Some people just kept going”, Mr. Sadikov said. “I had to get to the hospital for treatment. I was in a bad way. They even found a bullet in my sock”.

Victims of massacre: An Azeri woman mourns her son, killed in the Hojali massacre in February (left). Nurses struggle in primttive conditions (centre) to save a wounded man in a makeshift operating theatre set up in a train carriage. Grief-stricken relatives in the town of Agdam (right) weep over the coffin of another of the massacre victims. Calculating the final death toll has been complicated because Muslims bury their dead within 24 hours.

The Independent (London), 12 June 1992 “PAINFUL SEARCH”

The gruesome extent of Febmary’s killtngs of Azeris by Armenians in the town of Hojali is at last emergtng in Azerbaijan - about 600 men, women and children dead.

The State Prosecutor, Aydin Rasulov, the cheif investigator of a 15-man team looking into what Azerbaijan calls the “Hojali Massacre”, said his figure of 600 people dead was a mintmum on preliminary findings. A similar estimate was given by Elman Memmedov, the mayor of Hojali. An even higher one was printed in the Baku newspaper Ordu in May - 479 dead people named and more than 200 bodtes reported un­ identified. This figure of nearly 700 dead is quoted as official by Leila Yunusova, the new spokeswoman of the Azeri Ministry of Defence.

Francois Zen Ruffinen, head of delegation of the International Red Cross in Baku, said the Mus­lim imam of the nearby city of Agdam had re­ported a figure of 580 bodt es received at his mosque from Hojali, most of them civilt ans. “We did not count the bodtes. But the figure seems reas onable. It is no fant asy”, Mr. Zen Ruffinen said. “We have some idea since we gave the body bags and products to wash the dead”.

Mr. Rasulov endeavours to give an unemotional estimate of the number of dead in the massacre. “Don’t get worked up. It will take several months to get a final figure”, the 43-years-old lawyer said at his small office.

Mr. Rasulov knows about these things. It took him two years to reach a firm conclusion that 131 people were killed and 714 wounded when So­viet troops and tanks crushed a nationalist upris­ing in Baku in January 1990.

Officially, 184 people have so far been certified as dead, being the number of people that could be medically examined by the republic’s forensic department. “This is just a small percentage of the dead”, said Rafiq Youssifov, the repub tic’s chief forem^ scientist. “They were the only bodies brought to us. Remember the chaos and the fact that we are Musl ims and have to wash and bury our dead within 24 hours”.

Of these 184 people, 51 were women, and 13 were children under 14 years old.

Gunshots killed 151 people, shrapnel killed 20 and axes or blunt instruments killed 10. Expo­sure in the highland snows killed the last three. Thirty-three people showed signs of de liberate mutilation, including ears, noses, breasts or penises cut off and eyes gouged out, according to Professor Youssifov’s report. Those 184 bodies examined were less than a third of those believed to have been killed, Mr. Rasulov said.

“There were too many bodies of dead and wounded on the ground to count properly: 470-500 in Hojali, 650-700 people by the stream and the road and 85-100 visible around Nakhchivanik village”, Mr. Manafov wrote in a statement countersigned by the helicopter pilot.

“People waved up to us for help. We saw three dead children and one two-years-old alive by one dead woman. The live one was pulling at her arm for the mother to get up. We tried to land but Armenians started a barrage against our helicop­ter and we had to return”.

There has been no consolidation of the lists and figures in circulation because of the political up­heavals of the last few months and the fact that nobody knows exactly who was in Hojali at the time - many inhabitants were displaced from other villages taken over by Armenian forces.

 

The Sunday Times, 8 March 1992


Thomas Goltz, the first to report the massacre by Armenian soldiers, reports from Agdam
Khojaly used to be a banen Azeri town, with empty shops and treeless dirt roads. Yet it was still home to thousands of Azeri people who, in happier times, tended fields and flocks of geese. Last week it was wiped off the map.
As sickening reports trickled in to the Azerbaijani border town of Agdam, and the bod¬ies piled up in the morgues, there was little doubt that Khojaly and the stark foothills and gul ties around it had been the site of the most terrible massacre since the Soviet Union broke apart.
I was the last Westerner to visit Khojaly. That was in January and people were predicting their fate with grim resignation. Zumrut Ezoya, a mother of four on board the helicopter that fer¬ried us into the town, called her community “sit¬ting ducks, ready to get shot”. She and her family were among the victims of the massacre by the Armenians on February 26.
“The Armenians have taken all the outlying vil¬lages, one by one, and the government does noth¬ing”, Balakisi Sakikov, 55, a father of five, said. “Next they will drive us out or kill us all”, said Dilbar, his wife. The couple, their three sons and three daught ers were killed in the massacre, as
were many other people I had spoken to.
“It was close to the Armenian lines we knew we would have to cross. There was a road, and the first units of the column ran across then all hell broke loose. Bullets were raining down from all sides. We had just entered their trap”.
The Azeri defenders picked off one by one. Sur¬vivors say that Armenian forces then began a pitiless slaughter, firing at anything moved in the gullies. A video taken by an Azeri cameraman, wailing and crying as he filmed body after body, showed a grizzly trail of death leading towards higher, forested ground where the villagers had sought refuge from the Armenians. .
“The Armenians just shot and shot and shot”, said Omar Veyselov, lying in hospital in Agdam “I saw my wife and daughter fall right by me”, he said.
People wandered through the hospital corridors looking for news of the loved ones. Some vented their fury on foreigners: “Where is my daughter, where is my son?” wailed a mother. “Raped. Butchered. Lost”.

 

Time, 16 March 1992 “MASSACRE IN KHOJALY”


By Jill Smolowe
Reported by Yuri Zarakhovich/Moscow


While the details are argued, this much is plain: something grim and unconscionable happened in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly two weeks ago. So far, some 200 dead Azerbaijanis, many of them mutilated, have been transported out of the town tucked inside the Armenian-dominated en¬clave of Nagorno-Karabakh for burial in neigh¬boring Azerbaijan. The total number of deaths - the Azerbaijanis claim 1,324 civilians have been slaughtered, most of them women and children - is unknown.
Videoiapes circui ated by the Azerbaijanis ini clude images of defaced civilians, some of them scalped, others shot in the head..
 

 

Baku, 1992

 

“KHOJALY - THE LAST DAY”


In the words of the journalist Chingiz Mustafaev, among the dead were “dozens upon dozens of children between 2 and 15 years old, women and old people, in most cases shot at pointblank range in the head. The position of the bodies indicated that the people had been killed in cold blood, calculatedly, without any sign of a struggle or of having tried to escape. Some had been taken aside and shot singly; many had been killed as whole famüies at once. Some corpses displayed several wounds, one of which was invariably in the head, suggesting that the wounded had been fimshed off. Some children were found with severed ears; the skin had been cut from the left side of an elderly woman’s face; and men had been scalped. There were corpses that had clearly been robbed. The first time we arrived at the scene of the shootings of 28 February, accompanied by two military helicopters, we saw from the air an open area about one kilometre across which was strewn with corpses almost everywhere”. An inhabitant of Khojaly, Djanan Orudjev, also provided information on the many victims, chiefly women and children. His 16-years-old son was shot, and his 23-years-old daughter with her twin children and another, 18-years-old daughter who was pregnant, were taken hostage. Saria Talybova, who witnessed the bloody tragedy as it unfolded, watched as four Meskhetian Turks, refugees from Central Asia, and three Azerbaijanis were beheaded on the grave of an Armenian soldier, and children were tortured and killed before their parents’ eyes; two Azerbaijanis in national army uniform had their eyes put out with screwdrivers. The organized nature of the extermination of the people of Khojaly was further evident from the fact that the peacetul inhabttants who fled the town in desperation to save their lives were killed outside it in previously prepared ambushes. For example, Elman Mamedov, chief of administration in Khojaly, reported that a large group of people who had left Khojaly came under heavy fire from Armenian light and heavy machine-guns and armoured personnel carriers near the village of Nakhichevanik. Another resident of Khojaly, Sanubar Alekperova, said she would never forget the mountains of corpses of women, children and old people near Nakhichevanik, where they fell into an ambush: in the carnage, her mother and her two daughters, Sevinzh and Khidzhran, were killed and she herself was wounded. Faced with this mass shooting-down of unarmed people, some of the group made for the village of Gyulably, but there the Armenians took some 200 people hostage. Among them was Dzhamil Mamedov; the Armenians tore out his nails, beat him about the legs and head and took away his grandson, and his wife and daughter vanished without trace. “had heard a lot about wars, about the cruelty of. the Fascists, but the Armenians were worse, killing five- and six-years-old children, killing innocent civilĩans” said a French journaltst, Jean-Yves Junet, who visited the scene of this mass murder of women, old people, children and defenders of Khojaly. One of the French journalist’s Russian colleagues, V.Belykh, a correspondent for the newspaper Izvestia, reported seeing bodies with their eyes gouged out or ears cut off and bodies that had been scalped or beheaded. The head of the Azerbaijan Defence Ministry’s medical service, Khanlar Hajiyev, was horrified by the evi dence of savage reprisals against the inhabitants of Khojaly brought be tore him: a guardsman with his intestines hanging out, people with frostbite, a child whose leg had been tom off by heavy machine-gun fire, a girl whose face had been slashed with a knife. Major Leonid Kravets reported that he had “per-sonally seen about 200 bodies» and that with him had been a local policeman who, «when he saw his four-years-old son lying among the dead with his head split open, went out of his mind with grief”.

 

  The Washington Post, 28 February 1992

“NAGORNO-KARABAKH VICTIMS BURIED IN

AZERBAIJANI TOWN - REFUGEES CLAIM HUNDREDS DIED IN ARMENIAN ATTACK”

By Thomas Goltz, Agdam, Azerbaijan, 27February

Officials of the main mosque in this town just east of the embattled enclave of Nagorno- Karabakh said they buried 27 bodies today, brought from an Azerbaijani town inside the enclave that was captured Wednesday by Armenian militiamen. Refugees fleeing the fighting in Khojaly, a town of 6,000 northeast of the enclave’s capital, Stepanakert, claimed that up to 500 people, including women and children, were killed in the attack. No independent estimate of deaths was available here. The Agdam mosque’s director, Said Sadikov Muan, said refugees from Khojaly had registered the names of 477 victims with his mosque since Wednesday. Officials in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, estimated the deaths in Khojaly at 100, while Armenian officials in their capital, Yerevan, said only two Azerbaijanis were killed in the attack. An official from Baku said here that his government fears Azerbaijanis would turn against it if they knew how many had been killed. Of seven bodies seen here today, two were children and three were women, one shot through the chest at what appeared to be close range. Ant other 120 refugees being treated at Agdam’s hospital include many with multiple stab wounds. The Armenians who attacked Khojaly Tuesday night “were shooting, shooting, shooting”, said Raisa Aslanova, who reached Agdam Wednesday night. She said her husband and a son-in-law were killed and her daughter was missing. Among the refugees who fled here over the mountains from Nagorno-Karabakh were two Turkmen soldiers from former Soviet Interior Ministry forces who had taken refuge in Khojaly after deserting from their unit last Friday bet cause, they said, Armenian non-commissioned officers had beaten them «for being Muslims». The two deserters claimed their former unit, the 366th Division, was supporting the Armenian militiamen who captured Khojaly. They said they tried to help women and children escape. “We were bringing a group through the mountains when the Armenians found us and opened fire”, said Agamehmet Mutif, one of the deserters. “Twelve were killed”.

 

 

Коммерсантъ (Москва), 1992

Over the night from 25 to 26 February 1992 the Khojaly town (Nagorny Karabakh), inhabited mainly by Azerbaijanis, was subj ected to the mas i ive atiack from the Armenian side. The units of the Russian 366th infantry guards regiment took part in the attack. As a result, 613 persons dead, 487 wounded, 1275 imprisoned, 150 persons are missing. The Khojaly events have radically changed the nature of the conflict - afterwards the military operations from both sides have actually turned into ethnic cleansings.

 

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