Azeri crisis

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Azerbaijan's nationalist President, Abulfez Elchibey, faced the gravest crisis of his year in power after old-guard communist rebels consolidated their hold on Gandja, the second city of this former Soviet republic, Hugh Pope reports from Istanbul.

Officials said clashes in Gandja had killed at least 60 people, mostly rebels, after Mr Elchibey sent soldiers and the prosecutor-general to the city to try to remove the local strongman, Surat Huseynov, a factory chief with a strong armed following in the region.

Mr Huseynov took his attackers hostage and Mr Elchibey's government gave in to his demand for the resignation of the prime minister, Panakh Huseynov (no relation). The rebel chief then demanded the dismissal of the cabinet.