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Is Azerbaijan Deploying IDPs To Crush 'Wahhabis?'

Azerbaijani media last week reported that several people, including two police officers, were injured on July 6 during a large-scale brawl in the village of Shotlanly in the Terter district between local residents and internally displaced persons (IDPs) recently relocated there. Police from neighboring Agdam and Barda and Interior Ministry special-purpose troops were reportedly deployed to restore order.

But the Azerbaijani jihadist website has posted a different version of the incident. It claims that "a huge crowd" of displaced persons armed with axes, knives, and guns attacked a small group of devout practicing Muslims who were forced to take refuge in the village mosque.

The website implies that the attack -- not the first of its kind -- was orchestrated by the Azerbaijani authorities. It further claimed that the Muslims, some of whom were seriously injured, have been arrested, but not their attackers.

The independent online daily quoted unnamed Shotlanly residents as saying that "Wahhabis" were indeed involved in the fight. But it also offers a possible alternative explanation, again based on information from an anonymous informant: that the fight was between displaced persons from Agdam who had recently bought up property in Shotlanly, thereby incurring the wrath of local businessmen. further quoted Terter police chief Izzet Askerov as saying that the fight was the result of "personal animosity" that had been brewing since mid-June, and that it was local residents who attacked the newcomers.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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