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Gunman kills 12 at academy in Azerbaijan

A GUNMAN opened fire at Azerbaijan's prestigious oil industry academy yesterday, killing 12 people and wounding 13 before turning the gun on himself, the government said.

The suspect, Georgian citizen Farda Gadyrov, entered the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in Baku and climbed five floors of the building, shooting everyone he met along the way, according to a joint statement from the Interior Ministry and state prosecutors.

Gadyrov then shot and killed himself with the gun, a Makarov pistol, when he saw police approaching, according to the statement. It mentioned no motive for the attack.

TV footage from inside the academy showed victims lying face down in the corridors, apparently dead, with blood seeping onto the floor.

Students carried others, apparently injured, out of the building, and weeping women hurried out.

The film was shown on Russia's Channel One news. Photographs showed helpers bandaging the wounds of those shot.

Bekir Belek, a Turkish student, spoke to Turkey's CNN-Turk television from a hospital in Baku.

"We were in an exam, we heard gunshots, we went out of the classroom in panic and saw a gunman opening fire on everyone - three of my friends were shot," Belek told CNN-Turk. "Everywhere was covered in blood, all corridors. There are many wounded."

"We were trying to escape but had to return when my friends were shot; we took them to hospital," Belek said.

"There were bodies at each floor," said Ibrahim Kar, another Turkish student at the hospital.

Ilgar Mamedov, whose father, an employee of the academy, was shot in the head, outlined his account of the shooting.

Mamedov said the gunman was a short man who walked the corridors of the academy taking aim at the head of anyone standing within range and then shooting at them.

If it was apparent a victim was not dead after a first shot, the attacker shot again, Mamedov said.

Azeri President Ilham Aliev offered condolences in a statement later yesterday and said he would personally oversee the investigation.

The academy, which has existed under a variety of names since the beginning of the 20th century, has long been recognized as a major international center for the training of oil industry specialists.

Among its graduates were Vagit Alekperov, the president of Lukoil, Russia's biggest independent oil producer; Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos; Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan's first post-Soviet president; and Lavrenti Beria, the head of the Soviet secret police under Josef Stalin.


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