Head of local administration of the village of Rep in Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia, Dmitry Katsia, was shot dead late on Thursday evening, the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on June 4.
According to this report, Katsia’s car was attacked by armed men between the villages of Rep and Primorskoe, when he was on his way to the town of Gali at about 8:30pm local time.
“Presumably, fire was opened by three persons… Katsia died from wounds inflicted on his head,” Otar Khetsia, the breakaway region’s interior minister, was quoted by Apsnipress.
Two days earlier before this murder, one Abkhaz customs officer was killed and two others were wounded when their car was attacked close to the village of Saberio in the Gali district.
Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, who summoned national security council session on June 4, said “the Georgian trace in quite obvious” in both of these incidents, Apsnipress reported.
He instructed the breakaway region’s foreign ministry to raise the issue of “frequent terrorist acts” at the upcoming eleventh round of Geneva talks, planned for June 8.
“It should be stated clearly that if the Georgian side does not stop subversive acts, we will have to take adequate measures. The organizers of terrorist acts should understand that local destabilization may cause the aggravation of already uneasy situation in the region where the refugees have returned,” he said referring to Gali district, predominately populated by ethnic Georgians.
Meanwhile, the Georgian television stations reported that like in case of attack on Abkhaz customs officers, the recent incident was also a result of a clash between the Abkhaz officials and the Russian troops, which was triggered by disagreement about money seized from the local Georgian population.
Rustavi 2 TV and Georgian Public Broadcaster also aired remarks by a Georgian official from the Abkhaz government-in-exile, Tornike Kilanava, who often acts as an official speaker commenting on Gali-related developments. He said: “They [Abkhaz officials and Russian soldiers] were sharing money seized from the local population, which resulted into [shootout] and death of Dmitry Katsia, who was notorious for his cruelty against Georgians; he led several punitive operations against the local population, intimidating and terrorizing the local population [of Gali district].”
In a separate Gali-related report also on June 4, the Georgian television stations said that week ago an attack occurred on a Georgian family in the village of Otobaia; the Georgian Public Broadcaster reported that attackers “tortured” a man and his wife in an attempt to extort money from the family. Victims were able to arrive in Zugdidi hospital only after a week from the attack, “as Russian occupants were not allowing” them to cross the administrative border.