The fragile situation that has arisen in the city of Ganja requires even a greater unity of society around the state, Azerbaijani President’s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov wrote on Facebook.
"Answering a BBC correspondent’s question regarding the armed assault on Head of the Ganja City Executive Authority Elmar Valiyev on July 3, I stated based on preliminary information that ‘it was a criminal act committed against the mayor, there’s been an armed attack, the mayor and his bodyguard have been wounded, the perpetrator has been captured, and law enforcement authorities are taking necessary measures.’ It would not be right to give more detailed information without the consent of the relevant authorities with regard to such grave offenses. As a state official I just tried to let the public know that the government was in control of the situation,” Hasanov wrote.
A joint statement issued by the Prosecutor General's Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service on July 6 said that the crime was a terrorist attack and committed by the foreign citizen Yusif Safarov, who had taken part in combat operations unauthorized by the Azerbaijani state, the top official said.
"It then turned out that the assailant was not driven by a personal issue or revenge and ‘social injustice’ as claimed by his wife in videos disseminated in local as well as foreign media. Rather it became clear that his act was aimed at establishing a Shariah-ruled state in Azerbaijan for the sake of his ‘ideals’ for which he had fought in Syria. Yunis is a foreign citizen raised in an affluent family and he can’t have thought of a leftist revolution in Azerbaijan for social justice. As he himself admitted, he had been prepared to carry out the attack for years, waiting for an opportunity to arise. It appears that the accident that occurred in Mingachevir has been created a good opportunity for him,” he said.
In his post, Hasanov recalled that the efforts of some foreign media outlets and Facebook pages to paint an Islamophobic and anti-Shiite picture of Ganja’s city mayor had already caused much discussion in early 2017.
"Since early this year, there has been an increase in the number of articles about Elma Valiyev’s alleged rude conduct. It seems there was a need to make him look responsible for social oppression since the country’s population is not that sensitive about religion. Following the incident, radical religious pages and media outlets connected with separatists accused of treason started praising Yunis Safarov as a new "Ganjabasar avenger” and "hero.” Again, they received support from "domestic opposition” in Europe and the internet channels they direct, as well as from anti-national elements like Leyla Yunus. Ismayil Shabanov, nicknamed "Talysh separatist”, Alakram Humbatov, who lives with the same status in the Nertherlands, created a committee to defend the criminal and appealed to foreign officials. During the April events, another traitor wearing Armenian military uniform dedicated a poem to him insulting Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani soldiers. It is no coincidence that some foreign religious sites carrying out systematic ideological provocations against the state of Azerbaijan and its independent policy are more active these days. The YouTube channel of Ru-clip.ru, whose owner is not known, shared 5 vidodes calling for rebellion, made by Seda HD company,” the top official wrote.