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S.Ossetia Claims it Holds Four Georgian Soldiers
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Jul.'08 / 12:07

The authorities in breakaway South Ossetia have claimed that they detained four servicemen of the Georgian army last night in the conflict zone.

According to the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee, the servicemen where detained close to the village of Okona in the Znauri district at the administrative border.

The South Ossetian side has named those allegedly arrested, saying all of them were “officers from the artillery brigade of the Georgian Ministry of Defense.”

One of the detainees is a colonel, one – corporal and two others – sergeants, according to the South Ossetian side.

“According to the preliminary information obtained during the investigation, the detainees were conducting a reconnaissance operation related with artillery fire correction,” the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee reported.

The Russian television stations aired footage showing South Ossetian militiamen escorting at least two handcuffed men in military uniforms inside the breakaway region’s Interior Ministry.

The Georgian Ministry of Defense has declined to comment.

In a separate incident on July 7 the Georgian side reported that its law enforcement agencies have prevented infiltration of a South Ossetian “group of saboteurs” on a Georgian-controlled by-pass road linking the Georgian villages in the north of Tskhinvali with the rest of Georgia.

Mamuka Kurashvili, a Georgian Ministry of Defense official in charge of overseeing peacekeeping operations in the conflict zones, alleged that the group of up to ten militiamen apparently aimed at placing mines on the by-pass road. He said that the Georgian side opened fire and the group was forced to retreat towards the nearby South Ossetian-controlled village. He has also claimed there apparently were casualties among the South Ossetian militiamen. The South Ossetian side has not yet commented on the incident.

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