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23.01.2018 | army

The Anti-Tank Grenade has Exploded Because of the "Leadership Negligence": 1 Dead, 7 Injured

The Anti-Tank Grenade has Exploded Because of the
“I demand that the army leadership declare my child a posthumous hero. I want his Hero’s Order and awards be hanged next to his picture because he had heroic merits,” The mother of Hrant Mangasaryan, who died two months ago in a anti-tank grenade explosion, is offended; she thinks that the Defense Ministry did not value his son’s life properly. Her son was a hero by his actions during April War; Hrant was proclaimed the best sniper of his military unit in Martakert.  

For his combat merits, Hrant received an award, medals of Excellence and Brave Warrior. But this is not enough: Hrant should have not only posthumously awarded but also, as a hero, he had to be buried in the military pantheon, thinks the mother.

“They cannot say that, if not killed in combat, he cannot be a hero. His heroic actions have not been valued, my child has been neglected, that’s why I feel violated,” complains Mrs. Nune. “Heroizing soldiers is the least the army leaders should do.”  

Hrant was taking sniper courses in Yerevan military educational unit when the first bullets of war blasted in Artsakh. The frontline needed skillful snipers and with his fellow servicemen he moved to Artsakh. The young man did not share with his family the sufferings and the difficulties of the war.  

On November 4, 2017, Artsakh Defense Ministry issued an announcement about the incident with outcome of one dead and two wounded servicemen. This was not a regular incident at the border but an anti-tank explosion in the military unit’s warehouse. However, in its official statement, the NKR Defense Ministry failed to mention the names of all the wounded soldiers.

Journalists for human rights organization have documents in hand on the criminal case filed on November 4, in which one dead and seven wounded soldiers are listed. Thus, Hrant Mangasaryan died on November 4 from the explosion of an anti-tank grenade in the Martakert military unit and the contract serviceman Gevorg Hyusnunts, the conscripts Sergey Alumyan, Erik Avetisyan, Narek Bareghamyan, Melsik Margaryan, Hovhannes Shermazanyan and Vanik Poghosyan were injured; they were taken to Martakert military hospital with various degrees of injuries after the explosion. 

Armenia’s Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan did not visit Hrant Mangasaryan`s family. Instead, he received the relatives of the dead soldier and told them that the case was under his immediate control, and promised to punish those guilty. The minister also informed that the range of guilty persons in the grenade explosion is pretty wide - about 15 high ranking military men. The investigator confirmed this information, explaining to the family that the anti-tank grenade had exploded because of the “leadership negligence” and 15 high-ranking military officers were responsible for it.

The Criminal Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation, in accordance with Article 376 (2) of the Criminal Code. According to the investigation, the anti-tank grenade exploded due to negligence of the officials of the 49971 military unit of the Defense Army, causing grave consequences. Hrant Mangasaryan was recognized as a victim, his mother Nune Hakobyan-- the successor to the victim. The Investigative Committee informs that no one has been charged with this case yet and there are not detained persons. Investigation is under way. 

Information on the tragic event is scarce. Hrant`s family knows only that the servicemen suffered from the explosion had returned from the positions the day before and, notwithstanding their weariness, were sent to the warehouse to arrange armaments. Hrant`s body has been so damaged by the explosion that it was difficult to identify. In the morgue, Mrs. Nune recognized her son: 

“From the scar under his footstep I realized immediately that it was my son.” The anti-tank grenade exploded near Hrant. “My boy was bent down at that time and took the force of the explosion over him; his friends were injured from the fragments. The injuries of his hands, face and lower parts of his body lead to that conclusion...” If Hrant would not cover the grenade with his body, the whole warehouse would blow up and there would be great human losses. Hrant Mangasaryan had a real man`s stance, a few words with him were enough to realize that you were dealing with a young man, who is an expert in military affairs, tells his uncle Aram Hakobyan.

“He knew his merits very well. Hrant was a military officer who did not need to waste extra words; he qualified himself by his deeds.” But the skillful sniper was not given a chance to enjoy his earthly life: he was killed two months before competing his military service.  

Hrant Mangasaryan`s family has many unanswered questions, such as how did it happen that the sniper was dealing with an anti-tank grenade. Nune Hakobyan knows that the grenade that caused his son`s death had the safety released. The question arises: Why was the grenade in that state, if there was no combat situation? The investigative body is reporting that the warehouse keeper, injured Gevorg Hyusnunts, has tried to put the safety lever back and, at that moment, the grenade exploded in his hands.  

Hrant`s uncle Aram Hakobyan has a preliminary testimony from Hyusnunts at his disposal, in which the warehouse keeper has admitted that, when attempting to put the safety lever back, it fell from his hand and exploded. Subsequently he told different things to the preliminary investigative body. First, he said that, before the explosion, the grenade was placed on the table. And in the final testimony Hyusnunts insisted that the grenade exploded in his hands when he was trying to put the safety lever back. 

Hrant Mangasaryan`s family does not have big expectations that those guilty will be punished. None of the injured servicemen will testify against another: the leadership of the military unit will not let the soldiers to do so. Mrs. Nune is well aware that they have no right to give up their hope, and, in order to clarify all the details, she is ready to fight persistently.

"They have to disclose who is faulty in my son’s death, even if it happened due to negligence. I want great deal of people to know about this incident, and those guilty in my son’s death be punished.”  

The full discovery of the mysterious incident is important not only for them, but also for those families who have a soldier in the army.  

"No one understands what`s going on inside of me. Incidents like this should not happen. There should not be mothers who lose their sons,” says Nune, closing her eyes full of tears firmly.

Robert Ananyan
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