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20 Sep, 2007 21:13

Two soldiers killed in shootout on Georgia-Abkhazia border

Two soldiers from Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia have been shot dead and four others injured in a border incident with Georgian soldiers.

The clash took place in the Kodori Gorge, a gateway to the Black Sea province of Abkhazia. Both sides claimed that the other had intruded on its territory and was the cause of the incident.

“Illegal armed unit controlled by Abkhazian authorities entered the territory which is controlled by Georgian side, and which in fact controls the road which is connecting the upper, Abkhazian Kodori Gorge with the rest of the Georgian. The clear objective of that unit was to control the part of road and to attack the road,” said David Bakradze, Georgian Minister of Conflicts Settlement.
The Abkhazian explanation is similar to that of the Georgian side, except with the roles reversed.

“This and last years the anti-terrorist centre is training its young recruits there, to prepare them to serve in mountainous regions. And they were to check, whether reports about Georgia's troops crossing the border controlled by Tbilisi are correct,” said Sergey Shamba, Abkhazian Foreign Minister.
Abkhazia says it considers the incident an act of aggression from the Georgia’s side.
Tbilisi lost control of its breakaway region after the war in 1993; however the conflict has never been fully resolved.
Abkhazia is looking for support from both Russia and the United Nations, to confirm its version of events in the latest incident.
Meanwhile, Georgia is holding six Abkhazians soldiers in custody and the Interior Minister says they will have to take full responsibility for what happened.