Azerbaijan President Says Third Coup Plot Foiled
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) _ President Geidar Aliev says he has foiled the third coup attempt in a year in his former Soviet republic.
The latest attempt was organized by former President Ayaz Mutalibov and former high-ranking defense ministry officials, he said Wednesday.
Aliev said most of the suspected conspirators, including former army Chief of Staff Gen. Shahin Musayev and two former deputy defense ministers, were arrested.
The plotters had been preparing the coup since May, visiting various military units in the republic and ``conducting ideological preparation for the coup,″ Aliev said. He gave no details about when the attempt occurred.
Mutalibov, who now lives in Moscow, is wanted in Azerbaijan to face charges of seizing power and proclaiming himself president. He was ousted in 1992.
There have been two previous attempts against Aliev, who was Azerbaijan’s Communist Party boss until he was removed by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
In October 1994, police units in the city of Gyandzha rose up against Aliev, but government troops quelled the uprising. In March, the army crushed another police-led rebellion in Baku, the capital.
Aliev came to power in a bloodless coup in 1993 amid economic turmoil and military defeats in Azerbaijan’s war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.