"...The plight of the citizens, expelled from the occupied areas, who have now become refugees and immigrants, is the number one problem for us and a personal priority for me."
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Visits to the homeland are a great consolation to the families of martyrs
Mətbuat xidmətinin məlumatı 25 April, 2022

Solving the problems of IDPs is an important priority of the social policy of President Ilham Aliyev. First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva pays special attention and care to our citizens from this category. It is understandable that IDPs, whose social protection is provided by the state, want to see their homeland liberated from occupation. For this purpose, a group of IDPs from Kalbajar region visited the liberated territories on April 16 and 18. The head of the department of the State Committee for Affairs of Refugees and IDPs, Sanan HUSEYNOV, originally from Gunashli village of Kalbajar, accompanied his compatriots on both visits. He shared his impressions of the trip:

 

- For almost thirty years, April has been a sad month for the people of Kalbajar: the tragedies of Aghdaban, Bashlibel, Meydanchay, the occupation of the region took place this month. Armenians committed the “Tunnel” massacre on the last day of March. The 44-day Patriotic War put an end to the longing for the homeland of the people of Kalbajar. Revenge of our martyrs and victims of genocide was taken, our tricolour flag began to fly in our native lands. Like Aghdam and Lachin regions, the territory of Kalbajar region was recaptured without a fight. Thanks to the wise and decisive military, political and diplomatic steps of the President, Victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, the heroism of our brave army, the enemy was forced to surrender Kalbajar, as well as Aghdam and Lachin regions. On November 25, 2020, the Azerbaijani Army took control of the entire territory of the region. The people of Kalbajar are always grateful to the head of our state and our servicemen who liberated our lands from the enemy under his command.

The leadership pays special attention to the appeals to the committee regarding the organization of visits to the liberated Kalbajar. So far, the people of Kalbajar have visited their homeland, the graves of their parents and close relatives several times with the support of the committee.

On April 8 this year, we went to Aghdaban village in Kalbajar region with a group of IDP, martyr families. We were accompanied by media representatives. As you know, a massacre was committed in Aghdaban on April 8, 1992. 33 civilians were killed, 3 of them were thrown into a haystack and burned alive. Some of the victims martyred in this incident were buried in the village cemetery at that time, and 14 in Kalbajar itself. While in the village, we identified the graves of the martyrs and put a plaque with their names on each of them. It was a great consolation for their family members. During the visit, Dada Shamshir’s grave was visited: his grave was also vandalized.

On April 16, we went with another group to Bashlibel village: that day was the 29th anniversary of the massacre committed by Armenians in this village. As Bashlibel is far from the region’s center, the villagers did not have the opportunity to leave Kalbajar after the occupation. Armenians brutally killed 19 residents of this village, and 29 survivors escaped the siege 113 days later.

The most brutal war crime committed by Armenia in Kalbajar is the “Tunnel” massacre, in which 53 people were killed. This is the second largest genocide committed by Armenia against our people in the first Karabakh war after the Khojaly tragedy. The highway of 36 out of 145 villages of Kalbajar region passes through this 200-meter-long tunnel. No two cars can go there side-by-side. On March 31, 1993, Armenians ambushed the exit of the tunnel in the direction of Aghdara and shot dead civilians in passing cars. Three cars were set on fire, 53 people were killed and 64 people were taken hostage.

According to the current legislation, in order to give the status of a martyr to any person, their grave must be found, their body must be exhumed, DNA analysis must be taken and identified, and then their identity must be determined. The place of burial of only one of the 53 people killed in front of the hostages in the tunnel - Guliyev Islam Mahammad - is known. His grave is in an area temporarily controlled by Russian peacekeepers. Armenians still do not tell us where the other 52 people are buried. Mr. President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly raised the issue of Armenia’s clarification of the fate of about 4 thousand citizens missing in the First Karabakh War and the location of mass graves in the highest tribunes.

In the present case, seeing the scene and commemorating the martyrs was the wish of the family members and relatives of the victims of the tunnel massacre. We fulfilled their wishes. After the tunnel, we visited Gunashli village. Two military martyrs of the Karabakh war - Amirov Rasul Soltan and Gurbanov Zulfugar Ali were also buried in the village cemetery. Armenians completely destroyed the cemetery: the head of the graves was demolished, the skulls of the bodies were removed. They were probably looking for gold teeth. The graves of the two martyrs were vandalized and all their bones were thrown around. We collected the bones, re-buried them in empty graves, and placed information boards on both graves. The brothers of those martyrs also took part in the visit, and visiting their homeland was a great consolation for them...

It is very important to follow safety rules in the liberated territories. Visits of IDPs to their homeland are organized with the support of the agencies responsible for security there. During the visit, our security was provided by 3 minesweeper servicemen.

The house of the participant of the visit, resident of Gunashli village Mirzayev Afsal Aslan is right next to the cemetery. As we went to the cemetery, he wanted to return to his yard. At that moment, the sapper soldier Mardali Abishov came forward with a minesweeper and after taking a few steps, warned us of the danger. The servicemen immediately approached him and began searching, and an anti-tank mine and a surprise mine were found nearby. Thanks to the vigilance of the sapper soldier and the professionalism of the servicemen of the Ministry of Defence, we escaped the danger. Otherwise, a KamAZ bus carrying Kalbajar residents, government officials and ITV’s film crew (20 people in total) would be hit by a mine. We are grateful to our servicemen and the Ministry of Defence for saving our lives. 

 

...As in all liberated areas, restoration and reconstruction works is underway in Kalbajar. Mr. President spoke in detail at a recent conference about the works done and the goals set, the projects to be implemented. During our visits to Kalbajar, we also saw the intensive implementation of the President’s instructions. The projects implemented today in Karabakh and East Zangazur will allow our IDPs to return to their native lands as soon as possible. According to the President, the best living conditions will be created in those areas. The days are not far when the people of Kalbajar will start a new life in their ancestral lands.

 

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