“The killing of journalists Maharram Ibrahimov and Siraj Abishev in Nagorno-Karabakh today was a needless tragedy. Armenian authorities should share their landmine maps with the members of the press to ensure that no other journalists become victims in the conflict,” said CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, Gulnoza Said. “We call on all parties in the area to ensure that journalists can do their jobs safely.”
Ibrahimov, a correspondent for the Azerbaijani state news agency AzerTag, and Abishev, a camera operator with the Azerbaijani state broadcaster AzTV, were on assignment while riding in a bus in the Kalbajar district of Nagorno-Karabakh today when the vehicle hit a landmine, according to multiple news reports and a tweet by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.
Both journalists and an Azerbaijani government official were killed in the blast, which also wounded several other passengers including AzTV producer Emil Mammedov, according to those reports, which did not state the extent of Mammedov’s injuries.
Azerbaijan’s military has accused Armenian soldiers of planting landmines in the disputed region, a claim Armenia denies, according to those reports, which described Nagorno-Karabakh as “one of the most heavily mined regions in the former Soviet Union.”
Last year, at least six journalists were injured in shelling while covering the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed area, as CPJ documented at the time.