BAKU, Azerbaijan

An Azerbaijani civilian was killed by a landmine laid by Armenian forces that exploded in the region of Upper Karabakh, officials announced Monday.

In the blast that occurred in the village of Sahbulaq in Agdam province, another civilian was also injured along with a soldier, Azerbaijan’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office noted.

The province was recently liberated by the Azerbaijani army from nearly three decades of Armenian occupation.

Armenian forces laid the landmines while retreating from the occupied territories amid Azerbaijan’s advance, said in a statement.

They also asked the public not to enter the liberated areas without obtaining a permit.

Five Azerbaijanians had previously died due to landmines laid by retreating Armenian forces.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 and ended with a Russian-brokered truce six weeks later.

Baku liberated several strategic cities, and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation during this time.

Before this, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory had been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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