Following a session held on April 4 (see below), Georgia’s National Security Council strongly protested against the killing of three Georgians and abduction of at least nineteen others by Abkhaz Internal Ministry forces in Gali raion two days earlier. The Security Council warned that Tbilisi would "take retaliatory measures to defend Georgian civilians in Gali raion if ethnic-cleansing incidents recur." The statement also underscored that the incident had taken place inside the security zone patrolled by Russian "peacekeeping" troops, "which opened up a passage for the Abkhaz armed unit." The Abkhaz side claimed that the three Georgians killed had been "White Legion" guerrillas. (Kontakt, April 4; Tbilisi Radio, April 5)
The clash follows another unsuccessful round of Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations, held in Abkhazia’s capital Sukhumi under Russian mediation and with the UN in a figurehead role. Russia’s special envoy to the talks, Gennady Ilichev, presided over the deadlock and seemed content, as usual after such exercises, to blame both sides equally for "intransigence." (Russian agencies, April 3)
Violence Breaks Out at Zviadist Chieftain’s Funeral.