1 May 2009

Azerbaijan university shooting leaves 13 dead

8:51 pm on 1 May 2009

Thirteen people were shot dead at a university in oil-producing Azerbaijan on Thursday when at least one gunman opened fire shortly after the bell rang for morning classes.

The Azeri Health Ministry said 13 people had died in the shooting at the State Oil Academy in Baku, capital of the mainly Muslim Caspian Sea state.

Police said the "terrorists" had been neutralised, but it was unclear how many gunmen were involved.

They closed access roads and special forces surrounded the building, a Reuters reporter said.

A student who asked not to be named said there were two attackers. "One of them committed suicide and another was arrested by police," he said.

The student said the shooting started shortly after the bell rang for classes at 9am local time. He said one gunman climbed the stairs firing on each of the six floors.

Azerbaijan is a mainly Muslim former Soviet republic on the shores of the Caspian Sea, where it holds vast reserves of oil and gas. BP is heavily involved in Azeri oil export to Europe.