The Azerbaijani authorities said on Sunday that they have arrested a group of soldiers and civilians on charges of helping Armenia plot armed attacks in Baku and other parts of Azerbaijan.
In a rare joint statement, Azerbaijan’s ministries of defense and interior, office of the prosecutor-general and national security service said the suspects passed military secrets on to the Armenian military and intelligence. It claimed that the latter were planning to carry out “large-scale provocations” in the Terter district northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijani security forces thwarted not only those provocations but also “terrorist acts planned in public locations in Baku,” added the statement. It did not specify the number of the arrested Azerbaijanis or identify any of them.
The arrests were announced two days after Karabakh’s Armenian-backed Defense Army reported a shootout between Azerbaijani soldiers deployed near Ashagi Abdurahmanli, a village just southeast of Karabakh. The army claimed that its troops stationed nearby also heard a hand grenade explosion during the incident.
Later on Friday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that Armenian special forces are preparing to attack its frontline troops in Terter as well as local Azerbaijani settlements. The Karabakh Armenian army laughed off the claim, saying that the Azerbaijani military is thus trying to cover up poor discipline within its ranks.
According to the authorities in Baku a criminal case on the alleged espionage was opened on Wednesday. Their statement implied that more arrests may be made in the coming days.