Special Purpose Police Unit (Azerbaijan)

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Special Purpose Police Unit
Active 1990 - March 17, 1995
Country  Azerbaijan
Allegiance Azerbaijan
Branch Ministry of Internal Affairs
Headquarters Baku
Nickname OPON
Engagements Operation Ring, Nagorno-Karabakh War[citation needed]
Disbanded March 17, 1995
Commanders
General Rovshan Javadov
Commander of Aghdam detachment Allahverdi Bagirov

The Special Purpose Police Unit (Azerbaijani: Xüsusi Təyinatlı Polis Dəstəsi (XTPD); Russian: Отряд милиции особого назначения - initially OMON) or OPON (Otryad Politsii Osobogo Naznacheniya) was a special forces detachment unit within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan in the early 1990s formed with the purpose of crushing ethnic Armenians in their drive for independence during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. The first body of the unit consisted of 3,000 policemen.[1]

From April 29 until May 4, 1991, OPON detachments participated in Operation Ring, together with units of the 4th Army, a violent pogrom against ethnic Armenians during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. During the operation, up to 30-50 Armenians were killed and a number of others driven out of their homes. According to Svante E. Cornell, Operation Ring was carried out with 'harshly systematic Human Rights violations'. The OPON also participated in a number of other massacres and pogroms during and prior to the Karabakh War, such as the Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku pogroms. When armed conflict broke out after the pogroms, the OPON was deployed to crush initial Armenian resistance fighters. However, due to the OPON's poor quality of training and organization, they were driven back and defeated by Armenian rebels.

The initial name of OMON was changed to OPON after the Azeri Declaration of Independence. The unit was dissolved by the government after an OPON revolt led by Colonel Rovshan Javadov on March 13, 1995. On March 17, 1995 security forces of Azerbaijan sieged and stormed the OPON headquarters in the outskirts of Baku where Javadov, along with over 50 others, was killed.[2][3]

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