Middle East ANC Reminds Diplomats of Sumgait Massacres

BEIRTU (Aztag)–The Armenian National Committee of the Middle East Thursday dispatched letters to several foreign diplomats reminding them of the 1988 massacres of the Armenian population in the Azeri city of Sumgait. The letters outlined that from February 27 to 29, special Azeri forces forcible entered the homes of Armenia’s in Sumgait and after pillaging the homes systematically killed and maimed the Armenian residents of that town. On February 27, 1988, mobs of Azeris began attacking and killing Armenia’s living in the industrial city of Sumgait in Azerbaijan. Elite Azeri forces–known as OMON–began going door to door and killing men, women and children, in some cases the brutality escalated onto the city streets. Soviet Azerbaijan authorities turned a blind eye to violent attack and the ethnic cleansing campaign initiated by the Azeri authorities of the day. The perpetrators who broke in Armenian homes followed lists containing names of those who lived there. They were armed with iron rods, stones, axes, knives, bottles and canisters full of benzene. According to witnesses, some apartmen’s were raided by groups of 50 to 80 persons. Similar crowds–up to 100 people–stormed the streets of the city. There were dozens of casualties. According to final but still incomplete data, the number of murdered Armenia’s is estimated at 53, mostly burnt alive after assaults and torture. Hundreds of innocent people were wounded and disabled. Many women, including adolescent girls, were raped. More than 200 apartmen’s were raided, dozens of cars burnt, numerous shops and work places looted. On February 28, a small contingent of relatively unarmed Soviet interior troops entered the city and unsuccessfully attempted to quell the rioting. The situation was finally defused when more professional military units entered with tanks and other armored vehicles one day later. As a result about 18,000 Armenia’s of the town fled to Armenia and Russia. The letter to the diplomats emphasized that in order to cover up this massacre and to further their anti-Armenian propaganda, Azeri officials continue to point to events in Kodjalu and Aghdam during the military phase of the Karabakh liberation struggle. The two Azeri cities were used by Azeri armed units to attack the Armenian civilian population in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, whose armed forces successfully neutralized those efforts and liberated those territories. The letter was sent to the representatives of Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the United States, Uruguay, the Vatican, Venezuela and the United Nations.

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