YEREVAN — An Armenian soldier serving in the Nagorno-Karabakh army has been killed by gunfire coming from Azerbaijan.
Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovgannisyan said on October 2 that Karabakh Army soldier David Navasardyan “died of fatal wounds after Azerbaijani forces opened fire on October 1.”
Exchanges of gunfire along the front-line boundary that separates Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan have been common.
This is the second Armenian serviceman reportedly killed in Nagorno-Karabakh since early August – a period that was marked by a surge in violence in the conflict zone resulting in dozens of lost lives in engagements and cross-border fire.
In another development, Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh repatriated on Thursday the body of an Azerbaijani man who was killed last July in a shootout with Armenian military personnel in the Armenian-controlled Kelbajar district west of Karabakh.
The 36-year-old Hasan Hasanov was one of three Azerbaijanis who infiltrated the mountainous area sandwiched between Armenia and Karabakh on a sabotage mission.
According to the Armenian military, Hasanov was shot dead after opening fire at a military vehicle that carried Major Sargis Abrahamian and the wife of another Karabakh Armenian army officer. Abrahamian died on the spot while the 37-year-old woman, Karine Davtian, was gravely wounded in the incident.
The two other Azerbaijanis, Shahbaz Quliyev and Dilgam Askerov, were arrested separately. Quliyev, 46, was tracked down several days before the deadly shootout.
Quliyev’s capture coincided with an official confirmation that a 17-year-old ethnic Armenian resident of Kelbajar, Smbat Tsakanian, went missing earlier in July. Tsakanian was found dead on July 15, the day after the announcement of Askerov’s arrest. The Karabakh authorities said afterwards that they believe the teenager was kidnapped and murdered by the Azerbaijani saboteurs.
A Karabakh government commission dealing with prisoners of war and civilian captives said on Thursday that Hasanov’s body was repatriated through a section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” northeast of Karabakh. It said the handover was organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross.