AN Armenian military officer attending a NATO Partnership for Peace program was hacked to death with an axe and a knife today by an Azerbaijani participant, police officials said.
Budapest police Major Valter Fulop told reporters that the suspect, identified as Ramil S, was detained without resistance accused of committing murder with "unusual cruelty".
"We say 'unusual cruelty' because beside a number of knife wounds on his chest, the victim's head was practically severed from his body," Fulop said.
The Armenian Defence Ministry identified the suspect as Lieutenant Ramil Safari of Azerbaijan and the victim as Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian of Armenia.
The interrogation of Safari and witnesses - including Markarian's Hungarian roommate - was under way, police Major Jozsef Szigeti said.
The officers were attending an English language course within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, which is aimed at increasing cooperation between neutral and former Soviet bloc nations and NATO in peacekeeping and other areas.
Police said a political motive for the murder was among the possibilities being considered and were also looking into how the suspect obtained the murder weapons.
The Armenian Defence Ministry's statement said the murder was "a result of the bellicose anti-Armenian propaganda, unleashed by the authorities of Azerbaijan lately".
Relations between the two former Soviet Republics remain tense after Armenian-backed forces drove Azerbaijan's army out of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Artsax in the early 1990s.
Edited by Sebastia, 02 March 2004 - 10:46 PM.