The Azerbaijani army smashed a two-day rebellion by a mutinous special police force in a fierce battle Friday. President Geidar Aliev said the rebel leader was fatally wounded in the fighting.
No casualty figures were released. An army colonel, speaking on terms of anonymity, said Baku’s military hospital had received four dead and 32 wounded soldiers in the past two days. He did not give figures for rebel casualties.
Nervous about the fighting, Western oil companies evacuated non-essential staff, casting a cloud over a multibillion-dollar deal signed last year with the Azerbaijani government.
Army units stormed the headquarters of the rebel special police forces in the northern part of the city Friday morning, sending pedestrians scrambling for cover as bullets whizzed by and ricocheted off buildings.