Koryun Gumashyan takes Azerbaijan's Kelbajar district hostage
Armenian Colonel Koryun Gumashyan admitted the availability of maps of mined Azerbaijani territories, because he had personally been engaged in mines placement in Lachin and Kelbajar districts in 1993.
"In 1993, these areas were mined by me, according to the order of General Norat Ter-Grigoryants (Chief of the General Staff, acting Minister of Defense of Armenia at that time). Then, by the decision of President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Kelbajar was supposed to be returned to Azerbaijan, an order was issued with a signature and a seal in July so that we began to equip the border there. We buried mines at about 500-600 hectares of Kelbajar territory brought by 17 trucks," he said.
In this regard, Gumashyan appealed to both Azerbaijan and Russia with a warning that no one, except him, could give away the maps of mined territories in Kelbajar and Lachin. "Sergei Lavrov arrived, and they seemed to have agreed that our side would give the maps of mined areas to the Azerbaijani side. As far as I understand, our side agreed - but I did not agree with this. I stand by my case. I can give the maps of mined areas to Azerbaijan, but with only one condition - return our prisoners," the colonel demanded to hand over to Armenia all international terrorists taken under the control of Azerbaijan's special services after the war.
He also tried to intimidate the participants in the post-war settlement assuring that it was impossible to clear these mined areas. "We mined these territories very cleverly - even if they bring specialists from England or Russia, nothing will be done anyway. There are places mined with chain mines. Return our prisoners, and then I will give the maps, and you can clear the territories. I have the only copy of the map," Gumashyan said.
The colonel also noted that since only he has this map, the invaders from Armenia died more than once in the Kelbajar region during the years of the Karabakh war. "There were cases when our people were also killed in mine explosions, either they went to look for gold, or to hunt. They even say that these were officials. Although we warned the heads of local authorities that one should not move beyond a certain territory," he added.
Thus, this man, who calls himself a colonel of the occupation forces, in fact, is intimidating Azerbaijan and Russia: if only he has the map, then it depends only on his will whether the sappers will receive it and whether they can de-mine 500-600 hectares in the area of gold mines in Kelbajar effectively and safely. According to him, it turns out that all these years the site in Kelbajar was a dead zone, which was forbidden to enter even the invaders themselves due to the fact that no one except Gumashyan knew where the mines are - and the Armenian leadership did not try to take away this map.
The main question is shall we believe Koryun Gumashyan? On the one hand, his story looks rather strange - how could the "Karabakh clan" of the instigators of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Kocharyan and Sargsyan, allow such a dead zone near the gold mines that they have been plundering for 30 years? But on the other hand, given the general chaos of the First Karabakh war, it could be true that the head of the Armenian General Staff, having learned about the president's intention to voluntarily de-occupy the Azerbaijani region, ordered his subordinates to secretly mine the most important parts of Kelbajar, and as a result, after a series of deaths, there was the only map.