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A Georgian captured, another wounded in Congo

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, February 24
Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirm that one Georgian was wounded and another was captured after two helicopters of the Congo Air Force were shot down by rebels on January 27.

The MFA reports that Congo had not officially confirmed the information until Wednesday.

The information about the accident came on February 22, to the Georgian Embassy in Pretoria. “The wounded man is treated in the eastern Congo and is safe now,” the statement of MFA reads.

The ministry also says that the reason for the Georgian citizens’ presence in Congo is unknown.

“As we know, these people are former soldiers and arrived in Congo independently. The situation is difficult, as one of our citizens has been captured by an illegal armed group. The Foreign Ministry is in constant contact with the government of Congo to get all the details about the situation and to protect the legal rights of our citizens," the statement says, adding that the government of Congo has launched an investigation into the case.

Georgia’s MoD also confirmed the fact, saying the captured Georgian man was a pilot who left the Georgian Armed Forces in 2015 for personal reasons.

“In March 2015 he submitted an application of resignation claiming his reason of leaving for Congo that he was given a better offer there,” the ministry says.

It was reported that two helicopters of the Congo Air Force were shot down by rebels on January 27. One of the helicopters was piloted by Georgian citizen Soso Osurauli, who was captured by Congolese rebels.

Georgia’s National Security Council Secretary, Davit Rakviashvili, also commented on the issue. According to him, the President’s Administration is doing its best to rescue Georgian citizens.

“The Presidential Administration, the Security Council and all its branches are trying to clarify the information in order to protect the rights of our citizens and ensure their safety,” Rakviashvili said.