One person was killed and seven injured as a result of an incident involving anti-personnel landmines in the Kelbajar region of Azerbaijan on Wednesday, 14 December. The incident happened in the area around the village of Chirag. According to Azerbaijani media reports four employees of a company engaged in repair and construction works were hit by an anti-personnel mine. Consequently four soldiers who went to the scene to provide assistance also hit a landmine, three of them received various degrees of injuries, and one was killed.
The incident has renewed calls for more concerted action to clear the South Caucasus of landmines
On 30 November, a new phase in the campaign Landmine Free South Caucasus was launched with activities and media work across the region. The theme of the current phase of the campaign is solidarity with the victims of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
One of the events in the framework of the campaign was held in Baku where victims of past landmine incidents gave personal testimonials on how the incidents affected their lives and their communities.
Speaking in the event the Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, Ambassador Peter Michalko spoke about the commitment of the EU work towards the eradication of landmines worldwide, and about specific actions being undertaken in the South Caucasus. Also attending the event were representatives of ANAMA, the state demining agency of Azerbaijan, the office of the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan, members of the Azerbaijan parliament and representatives of many civil society organisations and diplomatic missions.
Speaking this morning after the news of the incident in Kelbajar, Ambassador Michalko said that the European Union is actively supporting the process of demining in Azerbaijan and this support is likely to increase. He emphasised the importance of this work for the development of the region.