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Bloodshed between Two Clans of Caucasian Avars in Kakheti

10.05.2007
Does the family of Verulashvilis protect the clan of Caucasian Avars from Khasharkhoti?

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Fourteen people were injured during an incident between Caucasian Avars in Kvareli. Several women are among them. Two men with grave health conditions were placed in the Gurjaani District Hospital. The population blames the family of MP Marika Verulashvili for protecting Shamil Gazimagamedov leader of armed formation. People threaten with vengeance and bloody demand unless criminals are punished severely.

The incident happened on May 7 at 10:00 PM in the village of Saruso in the Kvareli District. The witnesses claim that the incident was caused by the members of the armed formation founded by Shamil Gazimagamedov. He has twice served his term in prison.  The members of his gang started shooting at people walking in the street. “Two people were walking by in the street and they fired at them. The wounded people fell down and we rushed out in the street to stop the armed criminals. Gazimagamedov shot me at that time. His friends also started shooting me and I have 23 wounds in feet and sexual organs. I have bullets in my wounds,” said forty-year-old Magamed Djalilov.
The armed people did not stop shooting though villagers went out in the street. The anxious people tried to resist Gazimagamedov and his co-thinkers with axes, daggers, stones and blunt things. Consequently, Gazimagamedov was wounded.

“We urged them to stop but they did not. Some people were throwing stones; others were hitting axes at them. The police was also called but they arrived late. Gazimagamedov has been charged twice in the past. Initially he was sentenced for thievery, and for the second time for murder. He killed his uncle with knife. Those people are very dangerous. They are armed and nobody dares to resist them. Besides that Gazimagamedov is very close to MP Marika Verulashvili’s family. The father of MP, Valodia Verulashvili visited the wounded Shamila in hospital too,” said Achuri Djalilova, a sister of the victim Magamed Djalilov.

Representatives of the Human Rights Centre’s Kakheti Office saw Valodia Verulashvili and his son, Besarion Verulashvili in hospital when they were visiting Gazimagamedov. Besarion Verulashvili hired a lawyer for the wounded.

Caucasian Avars reside in several villages in Kvareli district. The left Dagestan years ago and settled at the bottom of the Caucasian Mountain Range. Later on, the villages where Avars settled were called Saruso, Tivi and Chantliskure. Saruso includes the Community of the village of Akhalsofeli. MP and Press-Speaker of the Georgian President, Verulashvili comes from Akhalsofeli. Although Avars residing in Kvareli District do not have different traditions, they are divided in groups. Shamil Gazimagamedov represents Avars from Khasharkhoti whose number is not so large. There also Avars from Nakhad and Gharubat. Residents of the village of Saruso say that Avars from Nakhad are more numerous and they oppose Avars from Khasharkhoti together with those from Gharubat.

“Khasharkhoti Avars kill people like birds and cattle. For example, little time ago, one of them, an uncle of Gazimagamedov, killed a Georgian Shepard, a resident of the village of Chikaani, for no reason. He chopped his body, and then he burnt one part of the meat, roasted another part of the meat and ate it. You will not believe the story but it is a fact. They are cannibals. They are different people. They are stealing, robbing, and raid us continuously. We are afraid to go out not only at night but even at daytime. They can kill us whenever they want,” said Maisa Ramazanova, a resident of the village of Saruso.

Shamil Gazimagamedov denies the accusations of his neighbors. Officers from the Internal Ministry’s Kakheti Main Department did not allow us to speak with him.

According to our information, Shamil was converted to Christianity in prison. So, it might have become the reason for controversy. Neighbors of Gazimagamedov say that he was imprisoned for having killed his uncle. “When his father died, Shamil was 17. According to the Avarian tradition, his mother was to marry the brother of her late husband. At that time Shamil was pasturing cattle. One day, when he returned home he saw that uncle tried to have a sex with his mother forcibly and tortured the woman. Shamil killed his uncle,” recalled the friends of Gazimagamedov, who added that Shamil’s Christianity seriously irritated the Avars. The conflict was particularly aggravated since Gazimagamedov joined reservists’ army. “Avars were arguing with him for having joined the army in addition to the converting to Christianity. Avars were afraid that they would also be recruited after that. Besides that there is an old Georgian Church in the mountain in the village of Saruso. Shamil was looking after the church. However, Avars raided the church each time he left there crosses or icons. Local police officers offered him to cooperate with them and in exchange of the assistance he would not have any problems. However, Shamil refused to be an agent of the law enforcers. We think, all above-mentioned circumstances have become the reason to persecute him,” said the friends of Gazimagamedov.

Wife of Gazimagamedov, Magamed Duganov Zalina said that her husband was shot by supporters of Magamed Khaibulaev.

“My husband and our neighbor were standing in front of our house. Magamed Khaibulaev’s son approached them and started to curse them. My husband could not stop him and then they started quarrelling. Khaibulaev wounded my husband. The police had information about the incident but did not pay attention in time. One more incident happened two weeks ago and police did not detain anyone,” said Zalina.

Doctros from the Gurjaani District Hospital said that Gazimagamedov has numerous wounds in the left side of the chest, in his left shoulder and in the knee. His health conditions are stable at the moment. As for Magamed Djalilov, he was operated on to remove bullets from his body.”

Criminal case was launched at the Kvareli Police Department under the Article on attempt of murder and robbery. Nobody comments on the situation at the Internal Ministry’s Kakheti main Department. Kvareli Police officials said that Avars frequently have arguments between each other. “At present we control the situation,” said Archil Bozhadze, the chief of the Kvaerli Police Department.

Population of the village of Saruso demands to detain the members of the armed formation and their severe punishment. If their demands are not satisfied, they threaten to take bloody revenge of the incident.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

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