That night we went to Alesker’s (Novruzov – husband of Shahibe Mustafayeva) to get news of what was happening. Some men came and said that tanks had reached the vineyard area. We decided to stay in Alesker’s house; he left us some bullets to defend ourselves. Then fierce shooting started. We hoped it would stop, but it didn’t.
At about 2am, some young men came to tell us that the Armenians were entering the town, they told us to leave. We went to the Finnish houses. There were many people there, it was a five-storey building; they had no possessions and were ready to leave. Alesker didn’t come back and we were told to go to the forest.
Everyone got scattered in the forest, but my two sons and nephew helped me. At dawn we saw an Armenian car coming from Nakhchivanly; some youth ran to try and stop it, to stop them telling the Armenians about us. Ten minutes later the shooting started. We were crawling; it was too dangerous to stand. Our neighbour was shot next to me; my sons saw it. When I stood up, I saw people dying all around. Those left alive continued on our way.
Those of us who escaped reached Shelli village; some went back into the forest to help, but many were taken hostage. (In Shelli)…There were many who were wounded and some died of stress. People were crying for those who were missing; there were people dying around us.
I had left with my slippers on, but when we crossed from asphalt into the forest I left the slippers behind and I could walk better. All my clothes were torn when we reached Shelli and I felt weak.
Fuzuli Rustamov had helped us to the village and with some youth he went back into the forest to help others. He looked into death’s eyes without fear. He was killed. He is a National Hero.
Whole families were killed. It was a miracle we survived. We saw so many bodies.
Interviewed by Ian Peart
Story source: Book “Khojaly Witness of a War Crime – Armenia in the Dock”,
published by Ithaca Press, London 2014.