By Vafa Ismayilova
Some 270 pieces of unexploded ordnance, 77 pieces of anti-personnel mines, 12 pieces of anti-tank mines, 1 piece of mortar shell designed for training purposes and 11 pieces of exploded shell remnants have been found as part of search operations, the Azerbaijan Mine Action Agency (former ANAMA, National Agency for Mine Clearance of the Territories of Azerbaijan) said in its operational report for January 15-17.
On January 15-17, the agency received 14 emergency calls on artillery projectiles detected in Aghdam, Aghjabedy, Jabrayil, Goranboy, Gubadli, Tartar and Zangilan regions.
The report added that during the search operations, 986 hectares of lands, more than 116 km of roads were cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance, 282 buildings were inspected.
The agency's demolition team neutralized 807 pieces of mines and 20 pieces of anti-tank mine fuses. Explosive Ordnance Risk Education specialists continued risk awareness sessions among 97,398 civilians, the agency reported. It said that 690 hectares of territories were inspected during the search operations.
On January 15, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the establishment of the Azerbaijan Mine Action Agency. Under the decree, the Agency will be created on the basis of a legal entity of public law "National Agency for Mine Clearance of the Territories of Azerbaijan".
On December 22, 2020, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said that 6 civilians and 6 military servicemen were killed and 7 civilians and 14 military servicemen were injured in landmine blasts after the war ended on November 10, 2020.
On January 1, 2021, in their joint statement, the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry and the Mine Action Agency warned all citizens against visiting liberated territories given that those areas, which came under the enemy fire during the war, were contaminated with mines, unexploded ordnance, explosive devices and explosive remnants of the war. In this regard, citizens are temporarily prohibited from entering those areas until safe travel is possible.
The agency’s work on the liberated territories is being supplemented by Turkish military mine-clearance experts. Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry reported that 136 Turkish soldiers arrived in mid-December 2020 and begun training their Azerbaijani counterparts. The first group of Turkish sappers arrived in early December. The Turkish soldiers themselves also will be involved in clearing Azerbaijan’s newly-liberated territories.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 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