By Akbar Mammadov
Today Azerbaijanis mourn the 28th anniversary of Aghdaban genocide committed by occupying Armenian forces in Kalbajar’s Aghdaban village.
On the night of April 7-8, 1992, Armenian armed forces, with the help of separatist Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, attacked the villages of Aghdaban and Chaygovushan.
Inhuman consequences of Aghdaban genocide
The Aghdaban tragedy committed by Armenian armed forces a year before the occupation of Kalbajar is one of the bloodiest pages of Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan.
Armenian Dashnaks broke into the village of Aghdaban and burned more than 130 houses, killing 779 civilians, including elderly, women and children.
During the attack, 32 people were killed with specialty cruelty, eight people aged 90-100, two children and seven women were burnt alive. Two people went missing, 12 people were seriously injured and five people were taken hostage.
Unaware of the attack, the villagers scattered barefoot in the snow-covered forests and mountains. The civilians was left defenseless as a small group defending the villages was destroyed by the Armenians.
Historical and cultural importance of Aghdaban
Aghdaban village is located in Kalbajar region, on the right bank of Aghdaban river, on the slope of Aghdaban mountain, at the southern foot of Murovdag range, 36 km north-east of the district center.
The Aghdabanli Gurban brought up by this village was a descendant of Miskin Abdal, a comrade-in-arms of the great commander Shah Ismail Khatai, the Shah of Azerbaijani Safavids empire. Armenians burned the manuscripts of Aghdaban poet Gurban and his son Dada Shamshir, one of the masters of classical ashug poetry, who made unprecedented contributions to Azerbaijani literature and were an invaluable spiritual treasure of our people, and destroyed the artistic heritage of this great genius.
Fifteen residents of Dada Shamshir were also victims of this tragedy. Armenian executioners burned Dada Shamshir's 28-year-old grandson Gurbanov Gulu Shaber alive in a bonfire, shot her father Jamal in front of 8-year-old Ulviya's eyes, and buried him alive in a potato well.
Endless Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan in the example of Aghdaban
Armenian separatists, who were not punished for the Aghdaban tragedy, were preparing plans for the occupation of Kalbajar as a whole.
The people of Aghdaban, whose homes were devastated by the tragedy, did not leave their native villages.
On March 27, 1993, when Armenian separatists attacked the Kalbajar region, the occupation resumed in the village of Aghdaban. Armenian militants attacked the village again and destroyed it. Thus, they committed the second tragedy in the village of Aghdaban. The second occupation of Aghdaban meant the complete occupation of Kalbajar by Armenia.
After that, Kalbajar was besieged on all sides and completely occupied by Armenian armed forces until April 2, 1993. Armenians have long targeted Aghdaban not only because it is a strategic place, but also as the cradle of the literary environment of Kalbajar. They did not just commit genocide in Aghdaban. Historical, architectural and cultural monuments were destroyed by Armenian bandits, as well as sacred shrines and cemeteries were desecrated and destroyed.
As a result of the occupation, 220 people (our civilians) were killed, 321 people went missing or were taken hostage. The worst casualties were in the village of Bashlibel, 64 km from Kalbajar: 28 were killed overnight by Armenians, 18 were taken hostage or taken prisoner, and 17 returned to Ganja with a thousand afflictions after a four-month siege.
As a result of the Armenian occupation, 707 settlements in 56 districts of the Republic of Azerbaijan became temporary settlements of Kalbajar people.
Why should Aghdaban tragedy be recognized as a genocide?
Due to the specifics and nature of the Aghdaban tragedy, it fully complies with the provisions of the Convention “on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948. Therefore, this tragedy is an act of genocide under international law. This massacre against the civilian population of the village of Aghdaban should be recognized by the world community as a crime of genocide.
On April 30, 1993, a newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan won a major recognition of its case by the international community. On that date, the UN Security Council finally passed first of four resolutions calling for the withdrawal of Armenian troops and return of the displaced population.
While the true racist and extremist nature of Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan became clearly already in 26 February of 1992 during the large-scale massacre of Khojaly, it was the annexation of the Azerbaijani region of Kalbajar in early April that eventually led to Resolution 822 being adopted. Three subsequent UN Security Council resolutions (853, 874, 884) followed further advances of the Armenian forces emboldened by their impunity.
However, Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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