THE HOJALI TRAGEDY

The genocide in one of the most ancient settlements of Hojali during the first stage of the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh, which started between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1988, is one of the most terrible, tragic and unprecedented events in human history. The tragedy of Hojali stands in the same level as the most terrible and cruel tragedies carried out in Xatin, Hiroshima.

Hojali is situated 14 km to north-west from Hankendi.

Hojali had a population of 7 thousand before the tragedy in 1992. This was also a home to refugees who were forced during that period from Armenia and IDPs from neighboring Hankendi, as well as to Meskheti Turks, who were forced from Fergana in 1989.

On 26 February night of 1992 the Armenians deployed their forces in Hankendi and with the help of the 366th shooting military regiment of former USSR attacked defenseless and helpless Xojali.

It started with Armenian forces surrounding the town from the four directions and opening heavy and ceaseless fire from artillery and salvo launchers. Within a short time, the city was enveloped in flames of fire. The defending army and local population had to leave town. Hojali was occupied by the Armenian invaders by 5 AM.

Within one night the town was razed to the ground.

The population left town to escape in the mountains and forests. Armenian armed forced were firing peace civilians from all sides and jeered at them cruelly. Many young girls were taken hostages that cold snowy night. Many of those who tried escaping from Armenian forces in the forests and mountains, froze to death. As a result of Armenian invasion, 613 residents of Hojali were killed, 478 heavily injured. 1275 peace civilians, including elderly persons, children and women, were taken hostages and suffered heavy insults and offences from the Armenians. The fate of 150 of these persons is still remaining unknown. That was a true genocide. Out of 613 civilians killed in Hojali, 106 were women, 63 children and 70 elderly persons.

During the Hojali tragedy, 8 entire families were annihilated, 24 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one of the parents.

56 persons were killed with special cruelty. They were burnt to death, had their heads cut off, face skin taken off, eyes pricked out. Armenians also did violence to pregnant women and profaned the dead bodies.

The nation and the state of Azerbaijan do not forget the Hojali tragedy.

Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, issued a special decree regarding the Hojali genocide on March 1st 1994. According to an appropriate decree of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the 26th day of February was declared as the national mourning day in memory of the Hojali genocide. The corresponding notifications were sent to all international organizations.

On February 26th 1997, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued a decree on the announcement of a minute of silence in memory of the Hojali genocide victims. The President of Azerbaijan makes a speech addressed to the nation of Azerbaijan in connection with the Hojali genocide on February 26th every year.