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Baku Subway Beefs Up Security After Moscow Attacks

The entrance to the newly constructed Azadliq subway station in Baku. Most stations are now keeping just one entrance open.
BAKU -- Subway riders in the Azerbaijani capital are experiencing a heightened level of security since the recent attack in the Moscow Metro system, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Most of the subway stations are only allowing one entrance to be used, with the others closed for security reasons. All commuters are manually checked with detectors as they enter the station and police also conduct random inspections of bags and packages.

Tagi Ahmedov, the head of Baku's subway system, told RFE/RL that the tighter security measures may not be welcomed by commuters, but are deemed necessary since the March 29 deadly bomb attacks in Moscow that killed 40.

"We understand that we've lost a lot of passengers because of all the security restrictions," he said. "But there is no other way to increase safety."

But Ahmedov noted that there are some limits to the security schemes that can be used at the subway. He said that x-ray systems at the entrances would boost safety, but would be too disruptive.

"There are 650,000 passengers using the subway every day. We can't x-ray all of them like at the airport," he said.

Ahmedov added that there are plans to install closed-circuit TV systems (CCTV) inside subway cars, though he warns that they will not prevent terrorist attacks.

"CCTV cameras don't protect people from terrorism," he said. "But they can be helpful in an investigation after an incident has already occurred."