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MIA: two Georgian citizens wounded at the administrative border with SO

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, May 19
Two Georgian citizens, including a minor, were wounded by the “occupational regime” militaries at the administrative border with Tskhinvali region, Georgian Interior Ministry reported on May 18. According to the Ministry, the incident happened at about 8 am in the morning, when a group of five residents of the village of Chalvani, Sachkhere region, were collecting capers at Cholto Gorge, close to the administrative boundary line with Tskhinvali region.

The Ministry reported that people dressed in military uniforms tried to detain 5 Georgian men, aged between 17 and 27. When Chalvani residents tried to escape, the militaries opened fire at them, wounding two of the young men. Georgian officials said, one of them, a 17-year-old school pupil was “badly wounded.”

However, the de facto South Ossetian authorities released a different version of an incident. Based on the information provided by the de facto South Ossetian security services, information agency RES reported that the South Ossetian “border department” officers found a group of Georgian citizens who had crossed into the “border” illegally at the village of Lopan, Znauri region. “During detention, unidentified persons opened fire at the border officers in order to free the detainees. After the backfire the unidentified men dispersed,” the de facto South Ossetian law enforcers said, adding that they have detained four “violators,” including an underage person. “At present they are being questioned. The underage person will be handed to the Georgian law enforcers in the nearest future,” the de facto authorities said.

The Georgian authorities have condemned the incident at the administrative border, saying that the Georgian side will have a “strict reaction.” Speaking with journalists on Wednesday, the Georgian Parliament Speaker, Davit Bakradze said Tbilisi will inform international community about the incident. “We will call them on to work more actively on forcing Russia to meet its obligations under the Ceasefire agreement and to withdraw occupation army from Georgia’s occupied territories to eliminate such criminal acts against the population.” the Parliament Speaker stated.

Member of the ruling National Movement Party, MP Giorgi Kandelaki noted that the recent incident is a “violation of all agreements.” “Georgia will raise the issue at the international arena,” the MP noted “unfortunately, this incident indicates that the decision-makers in the Kremlin do not like Georgia’s stabile development. It indicates that we have to maintain inner stability, inner unity and to keep alert,” Kandelaki said.

The Parliamentary minority groups have also condemned the incident in Sachkhere region. Christian-Democratic Movement’s Giorgi Akhvlediani said Georgia should “try its best” to enable international monitors enter Georgia’s occupied territories. “It is not a local, but rather an international crime,” Akhvlediani said, referring to the shooting in Sachkhere region “Neither Georgia, nor the international community knows exactly what is really happening there [in the occupied regions], because no international monitors are admitted to those territories. Letting know the international society about the developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be kind of a preventive measure,” the MP suggested.

Following the shooting in Sachkhere region, some opposition members have criticized the Georgian authorities for “failing” to provide security for the citizens of the country. Irakli Alasania of Free Democrats, assessed the incident as a “terrible fact”, adding that it indicates “how much threat the tensions in relations between Tbilisi and Moscow bear for Georgia.” “It reminds once more to all of us that Georgia is under the occupation and at the same time indicates the fact that Saakashvili and his current government is absolutely powerless in terms of defending its own citizens,” Alasania told journalists on Wednesday “this incident should be investigated with the help of international community and monitors in order to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the opposition politician added.