Victims of Bashlibel massacre remembered in Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Family members and witnesses of several civilians killed in the Bashlibel tragedy twenty-nine years ago visited the site of the massacre in Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district, News.Az reports.
On April 3, 1993, Armenian armed forces attacked the village of Bashlibel, Kalbajar district, looting the villagers’ houses and burning them down. As many as 62 civilian residents had to flee from the invading Armenian forces and took refuge in caves located 3 km away from the village. On 18 April 1993, the armed forces of Armenia found the civilians hiding in the caves and subjected them to intensive fire from machine guns and other types of weapons. As a result, 12 civilians, including 1 child and 1 teenager, were killed on the spot inside the caves. The graves of those 12 civilians have been identified on the basis of the testimonies by the eyewitnesses who had been able to escape from the caves and managed to return later on to the area on 12 May 1993, secretly, to bury their fellow villagers.
Bashlibel resident Ismat Azizov, who was under siege in a cave for 13 days during the Armenian attack on the village, broke down in tears while speaking about those days.
“From April 5 to 18, 1993, we were able to hide inside caves from Armenian militants. When Armenian armed groups found out that we were hiding in the mountains, they opened fire on us. As a result of the shooting, 12 civilians were killed and 14 others were taken hostage. Then we took refuge in the Nabi cave, far from the village. We hid there for about a month and survived with great difficulty,” Azizov said.
Another massacre survivor Salim Mehdiyev, who was a soldier during the tragedy, said he and his eight fellow soldiers tried to protect the civilians hiding inside caves. “When the cunning Armenians found out that there were civilians hiding in the mountains, they deceived them, saying, “Mothers and sisters, don't be afraid, get out”. Armenian militants then fired on the civilians who came out of caves where they were hiding. I have witnessed that Armenian vandals tortured not only people but also cattle in the village,” Mehdiyev added.