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Official Interim Report on Number of Casualties
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 3 Sep.'08 / 17:26

The officially registered number of Georgian soldiers killed in the conflict is 156, as of September 3, Givi Targamadze, a senior lawmaker from the ruling party, said.

Targamadze chairs a special parliamentary commission dealing with war-related missing persons.

He told lawmakers in Parliament on September 3 that 13 personnel from the Ministry of Internal Affairs had also been killed in the conflict.

The number of civilians killed is 69, MP Targamadze said.

Fourteen soldiers are missing and at least three wounded Georgian servicemen are in hospital in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic. Targamadze, however, also said that the number of Georgian servicemen in Russian hospitals could be even higher, but it was not yet possible to verify that.

He pointed out that it was an interim report, as the commission had yet to complete its work.

Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, has denied that the authorities are distorting casualty figures.

“There is much speculation on the number of casualties, but that’s not a matter for speculation,” he told lawmakers. “This is a very sensitive issue and we should be careful with it. We are not going to hide information about the number of casualties and everyone should know the names of those who have died in the conflict.”

MP Targamadze also said that 176 Georgians had been released from the Tskhinvali police station and handed over to the Georgian side in a prisoner exchange. Seventeen of them were Georgian soldiers, he said.

The Georgian side, he continued, had handed over to the Russian side six servicemen and to the South Ossetian side, 41 people, including militiamen.

He claimed there were no civilians among the Ossetians detained by the Georgian side.

“They were either caught fighting with weapons in their hands, or people who had been sent on reconnaissance missions,” MP Targamadze said. “Ten of them were ethnic Ossetians who had been convicted in Georgia and had been in jail for various crimes.”

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