Twin Explosions in Tbilisi
By Salome Modebadze
Monday, November 29
Two strong explosions took place at 2 a.m. in Tbilisi on November 28. The first explosion at Javakhishvili Street near the Labour Party Headquarters shattered the windows of apartment blocks in the vicinity. The flying shards of broken glass injured several people including Zaza Kokiashvili, a security guard and a child. Nino Gordeziani, a 58-year-old living in the neighbourhood died in hospital.
Eyewitnesses say they noticed a silver Mercedes near the site of the incident a few minutes before the explosion. The explosive device demolished the walls and ceilings of the Labour Party office and adjacent buildings. Shalva Natelashvili the leader of Labour Party accused the Government of Georgia of the well-planned terrorist act against their party. “A terrorist act was prepared against the opposition – in particular the Labour Party, which has been proved by witnesses,” Natelashvili said at the scene.
According to Soso Shatberashvili, the political secretary of the Labour Party, the explosion near the Party Headquarters taking the life of party activist Gordeziani is nothing but an act of terrorism. Claiming the specific explosive materials can only be in the hands of the special task groups, Shatberashvili placed the responsibility for the incident on the Government of Georgia. Demanding urgent rehabilitation activities, the Labor Party threatened to hold protest rallies in front of the Mayor Gigi Ugulava’s house. “The explosion killed a person, damaged the area, and left tens of families homeless. Neither the Mayor of Tbilisi not the Chairman of the City Council have visited those people because they are hiding like the other authorities,” read the party’s statement.
“We had already measured everything before the Labor Party thought about it,” Davit Avaliani Head of Old Tbilisi Municipality said stressing that the municipality had already started restoring the houses affected by the explosion. Refraining from giving the exact amount provided for the rehabilitation, Avaliani promised that all the basic work will be finished soon.
Not even an hour later another similar incident took place at Noneshvili Street in Mukhiani; fortunately there were no casualties this time. The stairs of a shop close to an apartment building were blown up, breaking windows in the vicinity and damaging several balconies. Ruling outgas or electricity as causes for the explosion, the shop owner, Iuza Pitnava is worried about the GEL 15 000 damage resulting from the incident. According to local residents, the explosion was caused by an explosive device fastened to the stairs.
Local patrol police and detectives were working at both sites until late and the investigations into both cases are underway. Head of Gldani-Nadzaladevi Municipality, Nodar Sandukhadze spoke about a possible link between the similar explosions. “It is difficult to make particular predictions until the law enforcers finish their investigation, but the same explosive substance used in both cases proves they are linked,” Sandukhadze explained.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, investigations are being carried out both sites by Tbilisi Police Main Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs under article 229 part I envisaged by the Criminal Code of Georgia. The article states a term of seven years detention for the deliberate explosion of gas, petrol or similar materials that are a danger to health, life or property. Preliminary results from examining the sites showed that the same explosive material was used in both cases. Investigating other details of the explosion will need some time. The public will be informed of other details by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia as soon as the final results of the investigations are known.
Military analyst, Irakli Aladashvili spoke of the trend of explosions in Tbilisi during the last few months. “There have been three explosions – at the US Embassy, Poti road and Vagzali Square while two attempts ended in failure between September 22 and October 22 this year. Investigations have shown a link between the cases as the devices used were the same in all cases,” the analyst told The Messenger. “There are several possible reasons for the explosions which depend on the organisers of the cases: it might have been local or foreign special services wanting to create disorder within the country, professional engineer-miners dismissed from their posts seeking a revenge or international terrorist units seeking victims,” Aladashvili said unsure of the real reason for the last two explosions in the capital.