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Massacre by Armenians Being Reported
March 3, 1992

Agdam, Azerbaijan, March 2 (Reuters)--The last of the former Soviet troops in the Caucasus enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh began pulling out today as fresh evidence emerged of a massacre of civilians by Armenian militants. The Itar-Tass press agency said the 366th Motorized Infantry Regiment had started its withdrawal, in effect removing the last frail buffer separating the region's two warring ethnic groups, Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The two sides made no attempt to interfere, it added. Nagorno-Karabakh is within the republic of Azerbaijan, but most of its population is Armenian.

Shelling of Town Reported
The Azerbaijani press agency Azerinform reported fresh Armenian missile fire on the Azerbaijani-populated town of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday night. It said several people had been wounded in another attack, on the settlement of Venjali, early today. The republic of Armenia reiterated denials that its militants had killed 1,000 people in the Azerbaijani-populated town of Khojaly last week and had massacred men, women and children fleeing the carnage across snow-covered mountain passes. But dozens of bodies scattered over the area lent credence to Azerbaijani reports of a massacre.
Azerbaijani officials and journalists who flew briefly to the region by helicopter brought back three dead children with the backs of their heads blown off. They said shooting by Armenians had prevented them from retrieving more bodies.
`Women and children had been scalped,' said Assad Faradzhev, an aide to Nagorno-Karabakh's Azerbaijani Governor. `When we began to pick up bodies, they began firing at us.'
The Azerbaijani militia chief in Agdam, Rashid Mamedov, said: `The bodies are lying there like flocks of sheep. Even the fascists did nothing like this.'

Two Trucks Filled with Bodies
Near Agdam on the outskirts of Nagorno-Karabakh, a Reuters photographer, Frederique Lengaigne, said she had seen two trucks filled with Azerbaijani bodies. `In the first one I counted 35, and it looked as though there were almost as many in the second,' she said. `Some had their heads cut off, and many had been burned. They were all men, and a few had been wearing khaki uniforms.'
Ethnic violence and economic crisis threaten to tear apart the Commonwealth of Independent States, created by 11 former Soviet republics in December. The commonwealth has been powerless in the face of the ethnic hatred rekindled in the age-old dispute between Christian Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan, which are members.
Four years of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh have killed 1,500 to 2,000 people. The last week's fighting has been the most savage yet. The 366th Regiment, based in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, has been caught at the center of fighting in which at least three of its soldiers were killed late last month. Speaking to his Parliament in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, President Levon Ter-Petrosyan criticized the withdrawal from the enclave of the commonwealth's last troops. `This regiment, though not involved in military operations, was a stabilizing factor,' Mr. Ter-Petrosyan said.