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12 bodies of Georgians identified at Babushera burial were buried in Tbilisi

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 10
Twelve bodies of Georgian citizens, identified after exhumation from the Babushera burial ground, Sokhumi were reburied with full military honours at the Digomi cemetery in Tbilisi.

The bodies were transferred from the Levan Samkharauli National Forensic Bureau to the Holy Trinity Church where their burial services were conducted and on August 8 they were reburied at Digomi Brotherhood Cemetery.

The President of Georgia, the Prime minister, Tbilisi's Mayor and other officials paid tribute to the soldiers’ at the Cathedral.

The PM, Irakli Garibashvili, thanked the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons, Sozar Subari, and the Red Cross for their active participation in the process.

He noted that the process will go on and everything will be done to rebury the bodies of other Georgian soldiers as well.

The Defence Minister, Tinatin Khidasheli, delivered a speech at the funeral and highlighted the merit of the people deceased in the various combat operations.

“We pay tribute to these heroes, their parent, wives and children. The entire country will always owe you. We are unable to do anything to refund this huge tragedy, but our goal is not to allow any war to happen again in Georgia,” she stated.

Eleven of the twelve victims were military personnel, while the other was a civil citizen. All but one of the victims died in the Babushera tragedy 21 years ago and one person was killed in a battle in Achadara at the same time. Two of the victims were female.

On September 20, 1993, a plane carrying more than 120 people from Tbilisi was shot down while landing at Babushera Airport in Sokhumi during the Abkhaz war. People on board were planning to help civilians in Sokhumi and take the wounded back to Tbilisi but the plane was destroyed. The event happened a few days before Tbilisi lost the battle for Sokhumi on September 27, 1993.

Authorities began to excavate the graves at Babushera Cemetery in May 2014 after long-lasting negotiations between Georgia and Abkhazia.

The international humanitarian aid group Red Cross helped facilitate cooperation between de-facto Abkhaz authorities and Georgian officials. The graves of the unknown victims were opened and DNA samples were taken from all the bodies.

The samples were sent to Zagreb, Croatia for expert identification.

The families of 19 victims are still waiting for the identification of their family members' bodies.