Mine Action Agency specialist wounded in mine blast in Jabrayil

22 January 2021 13:17 (UTC+04:00)

By Vafa Ismayilova

A specialist from the Azerbaijani Mine Action Agency has been wounded in a landmine blast in liberated Jabrayil region, the Prosecutor-General's Office reported on January 22.

Azar Sultanov, 47, hit a mine in liberated Jabrayil region's Mehdili village, receiving various injuries. Sultanov was despatched to the area for the demining of territories through which a new railway line is to pass, the report added.

In its operational report for January 20-21, the agency said that 124 pieces of unexploded ordnance, 7 pieces of anti-personnel mines, 3 pieces of anti-tank mines for training purposes, 197 pieces of small munitions of different calibre, 23 pieces of artillery shell fuses, and 2 pieces of exploded shell remnants had been found as part of search operations. The agency received 8 emergency calls on artillery projectiles detected in Beylagan, Gubadli, Tartar, Tovuz and Zangilan regions, the report added. 

In the operational report for January 18-19, the Mine Action Agency said that as response action to 12 emergency calls the agency in close cooperation with the Interior Ministry specialists conducted 19 emergency and operational clearance field missions. Some 19 pieces of unexploded ordnance, 66 pieces of anti-personnel mines, 63 pieces of anti-tank mines, 3 pieces of anti-tank mine fuses, 5 pieces of 14,7-mm cartridges and 14 pieces of exploded shell remnants were found as a result of missions. The agency received 12 emergency calls on artillery projectiles detected in Aghdam, Beylagan, Fuzuli, Gubadli, Tartar and Zangilan regions, the agency said.

It added that during the search operations, 1,210 hectares of lands, over 117 km of roads were cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance, 282 buildings were inspected. The agency's demolition team neutralized 215 pieces of unexploded munitions and 749 pieces of mines. 

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" (ANAMA).

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.

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