The truce agreed on Oct. 17 came into force at midnight (2000 GMT) after a week-old Russian-brokered ceasefire failed to halt the worst fighting in the South Caucasus since the 1990s. At least 750 people have been killed since fighting began on Sept. 27.
At 1010 GMT, the Azeri defense ministry said the Aghdam region, adjacent Nagorno-Karabakh, was under Armenian shelling. It said overnight Armenian military units opened fire from large-caliber weapons along the border, which Armenia denied.
Armenia said the Azeri army had fired twice during the night and used artillery and accused Baku of rejecting its request to withdraw the wounded soldiers from the battlefield.
“This step … was categorically rejected by Baku,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. Baku called the statement misinformation.
The Azeri defense ministry said: “The enemy fired at the vicinity of the Jabrail city, as well as the villages of this region … using mortars and artillery.” It added that the Azeri army “took adequate retaliatory measures.”
The ministry said that Azeri military units downed an Armenian Su-25 warplane, “which was attempting to inflict airstrikes on the positions of the Azeri army in the Jabrail region.” Yerevan swiftly denied that.
Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri forces had launched an attack on the enclave’s military positions, and there were casualties and wounded on both sides.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountain territory that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.
The ceasefire earlier this month was aimed at letting the sides swap detainees and bodies of those killed in the clashes, but it had little impact on the fighting around the enclave.
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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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