Commander sacked over army massacre

Wed 23 Feb 2011 01:53 GMT | 05:53 Local Time

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The commander of an Azerbaijani army unit where seven soldiers were killed has been dismissed.

President Ilham Aliyev, in his capacity as supreme commander-in-chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, on Tuesday dismissed Chingiz Shafiyev from his post as head of the unit and reduced his military rank from major-general.

Lt-Gen Rovshan Akbarov, a National Hero of Azerbaijan, was appointed commander of the military unit in Shafiyev's place, APA reported.

On 20 February, seven young conscripts were killed at the military unit. The location of the unit has not been disclosed but media reports have put it in Goy-Gol or Shamkir districts in western Azerbaijan.

The circumstances of the deaths have not been made public either. A criminal case has been opened for the "Premeditated murder of two or more people", so it is thought that the deaths were caused by one or more soldiers on a killing spree.

Various Azerbaijani MPs yesterday called for Defence Minister Safar Abiyev to be summoned to the Milli Majlis to explain what happened.

The bodies of the seven dead soldiers were returned to their families on Tuesday after forensic examination, the Military Prosecutor's Office told ANS Press.


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