Events in the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia are developing very fast. Guerilla movements, raids, skirmishes: everything has sudently turned a real war. Georgian aviation has supported the nationalists and Chechen gunmen, who have penetrated Chechnya from the territory of Georgia.
Lately, there has not been much attention paid to events that have been occuring in that region of the Caucasus. Possibly, it was because of the events going on in the U.S.A. and Afghanistan; the events in the republic of Abkhazia surely paled in comparison. There have been several settlements seized and civilians shot – ain’t no big deal. Georgia’s obvious participation in the recent events came into the background. The guerrillas made their way from the Pankissky gorge (they are not officially registered there) to the Black Sea. The fact that the gunmen shot down a U.N. helicopter in Abkhazia’s air space was going to be perceived as “a regular incident.” However, there can not be any doubts now: the new war between Georgia and Abkhazia has started this morning.
Georgia launched missiles on several targets in the Gulripshsky district of the republic, which had already become the battle place of a struggle with terrorists. Abkhazia’s officials stated that Georgian battleplanes made an air raid with the only one goal – to render help to bandit groups.
Chechen guerrillas and the local nationalists, who joined them, seized several settlements including the village of Machara, which is situated 6 kilometers far from the city of Sukhumi (the capital). There is not much distance to cover to reach the capital of the unrecognized republic.
When the night fell on Monday, the guerrillas moved closer to the Armenian village of Naa, the Gulripshsky district. Having rushed into the village, they shot 14 civilians. Abkhazia’s troops ousted the gunmen, but the skirmish with the bandits continued for almost 24 hours.
A mobilization has been announced in Abkhazia; the country is getting ready to repulse the attack. The goal of the gunmen is known: to punish Abkhazia for betrayal and cooperation with Russia. Georgia pretends that nothing is happening. Georgian President Shevardnadze believes that there is nothing going on the Georgian--Abkhazian border.
The concentration of the gunmen on the Georgian territory was registered about 2 months ago, by both the Abkhazian and Russian militaries. The guerrillas’ activity makes us assume they have good communication and supply channels, taking account of the fact there are no other countries around with the exception for Georgia.
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