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Tensing Situation in Georgian-Abkhazian Conflict Zone?!

         Nana Pazhava, Zugdidi

Recently, people are murdered and kidnapped in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone and consequently the situation has become even tenser. Two Georgian police officers are killed in Zugdidi; a 15 year old boy is kidnapped from Gali district. In spite of all of this Georgian people are keeping their calm on the territory controlled by Abkhazians. Nonetheless, they are far from feeling secure. Those living the villages in Zugdidi district, especially at the administrative border with Abkhazia also are expecting some threat. In the meantime, however, the peacekeeping mission of CIS “perfectly” implements obligations as envisaged under the 1994 Moscow Agreement.

Two police officers of the Georgian Ministry of Interior were murdered at the Ganmukhuri and Khurcha checkpoints within the span of a week. Beso Gulordava, police officer of the Martvili police division, was killed at Ganmukhuri checkpoint and Ramaz Kitia, from Khobi police division was killed at Khurcha checkpoint. Both police officers were killed by snipers. On September 21 three other police officers were also wounded together with Kitia; they are still being treated in a Zugdidi hospital. The health status of one of the wounded remains serious and he is still being treated in the recovery department of the hospital. 

On September 22 two additional police officers were injured at the Georgian checkpoint near the bridge in Khurcha. They were both wounded by the explosion of landmine when the police were changing the guard. The wounded people from this blast were treated at Zugdidi’s central hospital.

As a result of the recent wave Russian aggression in Georgia, including full-scale war, the family of 33-year-old Ramaz Kitia, police lieutenant, was impacted the worst all. One months and half ago, four members of the family-father, parents-in-law and cousin, were killed in Gori while they were travelling from Tbilisi to Zugdidi. The wife of Ramaz Kitia, whose husband was killed at the checkpoint, as a result of terrible trauma has since been placed in Kutaisi mental hospital. She has 11-month-old twins, boys.

Officials from Gali representation of Abkhazian legitimate authority connect the recent was of killings and injuries accidents efforts to artificial flame the existing situation. Tornike Kilanava, coordinator of Gali district, stated that Russian and Abkhazian snipers intentionally target Georgian police checkpoints.

Tornike Kilanava: “Reportedly, snipers come from the villages of Nabakevi and Pichori in Gali district. They shelter in the near-by forests; wait for the proper moment and shoot Georgian police officers. In any case, they are supported by so-called CIS peacekeepers. I hope the so-called peacekeepers are co-participating in the murders themselves. It cannot be excluded that “peace-keeping” mission will become even more active.”

Criminals have also become active in Gali district. On September 21, supposedly Georgian-Abkhazian criminal bands kidnapped 15-year-old Nika Jalaghonia from the village of Zemo Barghebidan. After three-day-detention the young man returned home in the morning at 4:00 AM. Although the kidnappers demanded 50 000 GEL from the parents, the family did not pay the ransom.

Representations to Gali district are not confirming the full facts of the wave of assaults, robberies and murder of Georgian citizens.  It is only reported that Russian-Abkhazian groups are involved with rustling cattle and then divvy up the proceeds. The information about extorting hazelnut and proceeds from the harvest is also confirmed. As Tornike Kilanava defined, Gali district residents have to hand over their hazelnuts willfully. Russian-Abkhazian armed groups demand 20 kilos of nut from each family as a form of protection. Sometimes, they even demand people to provide one kilo of nuts from each hazelnut bush.

The same kind of situation exists for the most part in the villages controlled by Georgian authorities, where Russian soldiers are currently deployed.  Residents of the village of Kanti in Tsalenjikha district complain about the extortion of food products. Russian soldiers carry away ears of corn from the fields in the surrounding area of Russian checkpoints. Local residents have to serve the “uninvited guests, with other food products and drink as well.



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