Georgian saboteurs killed in Abkhazia were part of large terrorist group - Abkhaz special services

Two Georgian saboteurs killed in Abkhazia on Friday were preparing terrorist attacks in that republic, the Abkhaz Special Missions Center told Interfax on Saturday.

"We have reliable information indicating that they were acting purposefully to commit terrorist attacks as part of a group of up to 25 people, mainly in the upper part of the Gali district," the center said.

The Gali division of the Abkhaz Security Service told journalists the incident occurred in the village of Chuburkhindzh at about 2:00 p.m. Moscow time on April 8, when Russian border guards were on a planned patrolling mission. When they were inspecting abandoned houses, fire was opened from one of them, and Lt. Col. Vasily Kvitko was killed and another border guard, Vasily Donov, sustained minor wounds.

The border guards returned fire and killed two men. One of these men was identified immediately after Gali district police officers arrived at the scene. "It turned out that this was Lasha Sichinava, born in Zugdidi (Georgia) in 1975, who had been wanted for kidnapping Abkhaz citizen Aslandziya in 2008, involvement in a terrorist attack in Chuburkhindzh on January 29, 2010, and killing two Abkhaz citizens, Ashuba and Kekelia. The other man's identity has yet to be determined," the Security Service division said.

Four grenades and two assault rifles with ammunition were found in the house from which the gunmen were shooting, the Special Missions Center told Interfax. The attackers were wearing ammunition vests under civilian clothing and military-style footwear.

Abkhaz law enforcement agencies possess information indicating that these men collaborated with Georgian special services with the aim of keeping the situation in the Gali district tense and discrediting Abkhaz security services, it said.

This armed group has committed about eight attacks and kidnappings in the past three months, the center said.

[Source: Interfax, Sukhumi, 09Apr11]

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