February 26 marks the tenth anniversary of a tragedy that occurred in Khojalu village in the Askeran region of Nagorno Karabagh. It doubtless was a tragedy as it took the lives of 600 people. The 1992 February was the highlight of the war in Karabagh, when Azeri armed units occupied almost half of Karabagh’s territory and its capital Stepanakert was being bombarded day and night from nearby located Khojalu and Aghdam. Karabagh was actually strangled.

Back in 1992 Heydar Aliyev, who was then chairman of Nakhichevan parliament, blamed the Khojalu tragedy on the then president of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutalibov. Aliyev was quoted by Azeri news agency Bilik Dunyasi as saying that “the bloodshed would be in our favor and we must not interfere.”

Regretfully the Khojalu tragedy has been exploited in Azerbaijan for inner-political goals, when the tragedy of innocent people is being exploited for the sake of political intrigues. Who killed the residents of Khojalu?. Let us put aside all suppositions, let us apply to chronicles. An Azeri cameramen Chingiz Mustafaev, who was shooting a documentary in Aghdam and nearby territories, controlled then by Azerbaijani People’s Front, has questioned the official Azerbaijani theory that it was committed by Armenians and began a journalistic investigation. His first contribution to the Moscow-based D-Press news agency about possible involvement of Azeri troops in it cost him dearly. Shortly after it he was killed in Aghdam region under obscure circumstances. Another evidence came from former chairman of Azeri parliament Karayev who said that the tragedy was plotted and implemented by a top Azeri official.

In a recent interview with the Moscow-based Nezavisimaya Gazeta Azerbaijan’s ex-president Ayaz Mutalibov insists that if the People’s Front had not hindered signing of an agreement that was to place the Azeri army under the command of the CIS chief military headquarters, the Khojalu tragedy would not have happened.

The interview was entitled “Late Confession.” Mutalibov in other cases insisted that Armenians provided Azeris with a humanitarian corridor to leave Khojalu, but the armed forces of the People’s Front fired at innocent residents near the border of Aghdam. About 600 women, children and old men fell victim to the slaughter, committed by the People’s Front of Azerbaijan. They also murdered brutally 34 Armenians in Khojalu.

By Tatool Hakobian
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