28 years since Armenians shoot Azerbaijani helicopter carrying peacekeepers

21 November 2019 17:59 (UTC+04:00)

By Abdul Kerimkhanov

Twenty-eight years have passed since Armenians shot down MI-8 helicopter with the peacekeeping team departing from Azerbaijan’s Agdam city on November 20, 1991.

The helicopter that was bound to Khojavand in Nagorno-Karabakh over peace talks between Armenians and Azerbaijanis was shot down by Armenians using a group of ZSU-23-4 Shilka and SA-6 missiles near the Garakand village of Khojavan district in Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region. 

The attack killed all 22 people on board - 13 Azerbaijani government officials, two Russian and one Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs officials, three Azerbaijani journalists and three helicopter crew.

The helicopter war carrying several high profile Azerbaijani officials - Azerbaijan’s State Secretary Tofig Ismayilov, State Prosecutor General Ismat Gayibov, State Adviser and former Interior Minister Mahammad Asadov, Deputy Prime Minister Zulfi Hajiyev.

Famous journalist Osman Mirzayev, MPs Vagif Jafarov, Vali Mammadov, Department Head at the Office of the Azerbaijani President, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan Sanlal Serikov, Azerbaijani TV journalist Ali Mustafayev were among the killed Azerbaijanis.

The criminal investigation on helicopter crash carrying Azerbaijani officials on board was suspended on November 19, 2010,

“The investigation in this criminal case has been suspended due to the fact that the territory where the disaster has happened is now occupied by the Armenian armed forces. It is not possible to identify the perpetrators of this crime,” the Prosecutor General’s Office had said in its statement. The circumstances of the tragedy still remains a mystery, as the flight recorders were missing.

Earlier, in December 1988, Armenians shot down Azerbaijan’s IL-76 plane carrying humanitarian aid to Armenians in the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia. The Azerbaijani plane was downed using “Stinger” rocket near Gugark city of Armenia’s Spitak region. The attack killed 76 Azerbaijanis on board. Only one person survived.

The same day, Armenians shot down Yugoslavia’s AN-12 plane thinking it belonged to Turkey.

Armenians also shot down a civil helicopter carrying passengers on Aghdam-Shusha route near Azerbaijan’s Shusha city on January 28, 1992. Forty-one passengers, mostly women and children, and three crew members died in the attack.

Two years later, on March 18, 1994, Armenian struck Hercules type of helicopter belonging to Iran’s Military Air Forces near Azerbaijan’s now-occupied Khankendi city, killing 34 people.

Armenian terrorism dates back to the 19th century when Armenian nationalists committed numerous terrorist acts both against Azerbaijanis and against representatives of other nationalities.

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Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94 

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