Thursday, October 18, 2007

Georgia On My Mind

Another turn of the screw in the Caucasus as Georgian forces clash with Abkhazian customs officials:

Abkhazian customs official killed in clash with Georgian border guards
from the AP
TBILISI,Georgia: Georgian and Abkhazian border guards clashed along the boundary dividing Abkhazian-controlled territory from the rest of Georgia, in a gunfight that killed an Abkhazian customs officers, Georgian police said Thursday.

The skirmish Wednesday was the second bout of violence to break out between the two
sides in the past month. Georgia's Interior Ministry said border guards tried to prevent an Abkhazian man from driving what they said was a stolen vehicle into Abkhazia, a region that broke away from Georgian government control in a war in the early 1990s.

An Abkhazian customs official, who the ministry said was waiting to meet the driver of the stolen vehicle, opened fire on the Georgian guards, who then shot back. The Abkhazian customs agent was killed, and the driver of the vehicle arrested, the ministry said.

Abkhazian officials had no immediate comment on the incident.

And Russia has decided to take it up a notch as well:

Russia accuses Georgia of "premeditated murder," citing U.N. report on Abkhazian clash
from the AP

MOSCOW: Russia on Tuesday accused Georgia of premeditated murder, citing a preliminary United Nations report on a clash between Georgian forces and those of the breakaway region of Abkhazia that resulted in the deaths of two Russians.

Tensions between Georgia and Abkhazia have been high since the Sept. 20 incident in mountainous terrain along the line that has separated the two sides since the early 1990s, when Abkhazia broke from Georgian control.

Two Abkhazian fighters were killed and several others wounded, and seven Abkhazians were taken captive by Georgian forces. Georgia later announced that two Russian military officers were also killed, and Abkhazia deployed heavy military hardware to the line.

Georgian authorities said the clash took place when Abkhaz gunmen attacked workers building a road to link the Kodori Gorge with Georgian-controlled areas. The upper part of the Kodori Gorge is the only part of Abkhazia controlled by Georgian forces.

But Abkhazia claimed Georgian special forces entered a training camp on its territory...

Nothing new, but sparks continue to fly near this powderkeg. (Click here to bring up earlier stories on the Georgia issue).

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