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Azerbaijan Rejects Blame For Civilian Casualities In Shoot-Out

(RFE/RL) 30 January 2006 -- Azerbaijan's Interior Minister Ramil Usubov today said security forces should not be blamed for a recent shoot-out that claimed the lives of two police officers and a civilian.

Addressing reporters in Baku, Usubov said all those responsible for the incident would be exposed and punished.

On 25 January, a shoot-out broke out between police officers and residents of Nardaran, a traditionally restive village located in the vicinity of Baku. Three people were killed and a number of civilians sustained injuries.

Local residents have blamed drunken police officers for triggering the shoot-out during a wedding ceremony. The residents have threatened to stage a protest rally on 3 February.

Nardaran has a reputation as a stronghold of traditional Islamic values. Authorities say the village is a hotbed of religious fundamentalism.

(Turan, APA, Ekho)

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