Georgia: State Minister accuses "Dark Forces" in South Ossetia escalation attempt

In an interview with Tbilisi-based Imedi television, Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues Goga Khaindrava said that the abduction of four Georgians in the South Ossetian conflict zone was a well-planned provocation aimed at fueling tensions in the region.

The whereabouts of the four Georgians, who disappeared on June 6 after they crossed over into Ossetian-controlled territory, are still unknown.

Goga Khaindrava said that Rudik Bestaev and Atsamas Kochiev, who are allegedly members of the criminal gang known as the 'Textile District' and based in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, are apparently behind this abduction case. Earlier on Monday, the Georgian Interior Ministry accused these two men of kidnapping the four Georgians.

"In the process of studying this [abduction] case, I am becoming more and more convinced in the fact that it was a well-planned provocation by those 'dark forces' in Russia which aim at fueling tensions in this region," Goga Khaindrava said.

He also alleged that this attempt by these forces in Russia to destabilize the situation in the conflict zone is "directly linked with the process of the withdrawal of the Russian military bases" from Georgia.

Thew South Ossetian and Georgian sides have agreed several times before that a "third force," beyond the control of either of the two sides, exists in the zone of conflicts. The "textile district" gang has previously been mentioned in connection with incidents of shooting in Georgian villages.


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