By Vafa Ismayilova
President Ilham Aliyev has signed an order to award journalists killed by a mine blast on June 4 in Kalbajar region liberated from Armenia's occupation in a 44-day war in 2020.
Under the presidential order, state TV channel AzTV cameraman Siraj Abishov, Azertag (AZERTAC) correspondent Maharram Ibrahimov and local official Arif Aliyev have been awarded the Order "For Service to Motherland" 3rd class.
Abishov and Ibrahimov were filming the liberated territories when they hit a mine in the village of Susuzlug.
Ibrahimov, Abishov and the representative of the Kalbajar region executive office for Susuzlug village, Arif Aliyev, were killed in the explosion of the vehicle carrying them by the Armenian-planted anti-tank mine. Four people were injured in the blast.
Over 140 Azerbaijan citizens have been killed or injured in mine explosions since November 10, 2020.
Armenia deliberately and constantly planted mines on Azerbaijani territories, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, thereby being a major threat to regional peace, security and cooperation.
Until the June 12 agreement to hand over 15 Armenian detainees to Armenia in exchange for mine maps for Aghdam, Yerevan refused to provide maps of hundreds of thousands of mines it had planted on the Azerbaijani territories over three decades of occupation.
Azerbaijan's Mine Action Agency defused 7,449 antipersonnel mines, 3,643 anti-tank mines, and 9,033 unexploded munitions from November 10, 2020, to May 31, 2021. In this period, the agency cleared 2,763.5 hectares of mines and unexploded ordnance.
Azerbaijan has made numerous appeals to international organizations and lodged an intergovernmental complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over Armenia's refusal to provide maps of mines in the formerly occupied territories.
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centres and historic Shusha city. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz