The Communist Party daily Pravda said Thursday that 28 people have been killed in two weeks of ethnic violence in the republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Official reports said thousands were fleeing the unrest.
"We are losing our people," Interior Ministry spokesman B. Mikhailov was quoted as saying in Pravda.The situation in the southern region is tense, with mass meetings in numerous towns in Azerbaijan despite the presence of Soviet troops, tanks and a strict curfew, Azerbaijan Interior Minister A. Mamedov said.
Authorities have confiscated homemade pistols, sawed-off rifles and explosives from young people in Armenia and Azerbaijan, Mikhailov said. He said the death toll includes Armenians, Azerbaijanis, a Russian, a Byelorussian and a Ukrainian.
In Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, Pravda correspondents reported activists wearing red headbands gathered around bonfires on the streets at night, engaged in heated discussion of the violence.
Many cities in the region are under military rule and strict curfews as a result of the unrest between Armenians and Azerbaijanis over a piece of land.
Official media in Baku and in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, said thousands of refugees were streaming across the border to their respective ethnic homelands.
The official Armenian news agency Armenpress said the latest deaths began Nov. 22 and included a Moslem mullah.
Other deaths occurred in the cities of Kirovakan, Krasnoselsk and Spitak in northern Armenia, reports said.