15 Ossetians remain in Georgian prison

15 Ossetians have been seized by Georgia after Russian peacekeepers left the buffer zone following a four-day war last August, South Ossetian interior ministry claims. Georgia has not yet replied to the allegations.

The husband of Inga Elbakieva, who lives in the village of Dusey on the Georgia-South Ossetia border, has been taken from his home just five days after the Russian troops left and were replaced with EU monitors and put in a Georgian jail. The Elbakiev’s residence happened to be positioned right on the suggested frontier line.

Witnesses said the 50-year-old was taken away right from the house.

“He was taken away by Georgians wearing uniforms, but nobody could tell what service they belonged to,” Inga Elbakieva said.

Since then Inga pled in vain to Georgian officials many times for no reply. It was only when the international Red Cross committee intervened that she got a letter from her husband from a Georgian prison he asked her to look after the house.

Now with her husband gone Inga has to work at the market for ten hours every day for just about a hundred dollars a month. Otherwise, she says, she would have nothing to feed her three children with.

Dusey village is half in Georgia and half in Ossetia and Inga's family house is situated right in between Ossetian and Georgian territory. Actual borders have not yet been marked. What it does means is that if the official frontier is set on the house – the house will be pulled down.

Before that, however, Ossetians living in Dusey won’t feel safe. There are 15 of them in Georgian prisons, the interior minister claims – to which Tbilisi hasn't responded so far. So their relatives are desperate to find the answer.

One woman was told Georgians seized her 16-year-old son on the border. She does not know whether he is still alive. Now she, together with several others, is waiting for international authorities to help.

“We are ready to help to organise a mechanism, with which we can find solution to this very important problem,” Kharalampos Khristopoulos, OSCE Observer, said.

No firm promise of help has been given yet.Type your cut contents here.