Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 20

Since January 22, Abkhaz security forces backed by Russian "peacekeeping" troops have been conducting raids in ethnic Georgian villages of Abkhazia’s Gali district. The Abkhaz Security Service claims to have killed at least five Georgian "terrorists," wounded others, and captured more than 20 suspects. Tbilisi has charged that the casualties were ordinary civilians and that the Abkhaz troops burned homes and looted cattle to intimidate returning Georgian refugees. Russian units with APCs accompanied the Abkhaz. The new commander of the Russian contingent, Maj. Gen. Dolya Babenkov, issued a statement asserting that his troops and Abkhaz police had searched for "criminals and weapons" in the security zone in accordance with the Russian troops’ mandate and a 1996 Russian-Georgian-Abkhaz agreement. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, Iprinda, January 22-28)

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