7 soldiers shot dead in Azerbaijan

February 21, 2011 14:06

BAKU, Azerjbaijan  — Officials in Azerbaijan said seven teenage soldiers have been killed at a military base in the west of the country, with local media saying a soldier went on a rampage before turning the gun on himself.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry and prosecutors said in a joint statement on Monday that the killings occurred on Sunday in the republic's Goygol district and that a murder inquiry had been opened. The victims were aged 18 and 19, the statement said, without elaborating.

Local media said the shooting occurred at a military post where eight soldiers were on patrol. They said one of the soldiers survived the shooting by hiding under the bodies.

In Azerbaijan — an oil-rich former Soviet nation in the southern Caucasus region — young men are obliged to do 18 months' military service unless entering higher education.

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