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Georgia Says 'Main Phase' of Operation Against Militants Over
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 Aug.'12 / 13:57

The Georgian Interior Ministry announced on August 30, that “main phase” of its “special operation” against armed group of about twenty militants in the Kakheti region close to the Russian border was completed, but search operation for several wounded members of this “squad of saboteurs” was still ongoing.

“Corpses of 11 members of the armed squad of saboteurs have been found. Part of them was Russian citizens from the North Caucasus,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement released on Thursday afternoon.

“The Interior Ministry has a well-grounded supposition that several wounded members of the armed group might be hiding in the gorge. The squad of saboteurs was presumably made up of twenty armed persons. Police continues search operation.”

It also said that 11 gunmen killed in the clash “will be buried in accordance to their religious beliefs”, which was not specified in the statement, but apparently reference is made that they were Muslims.

PM Vano Merabishvili, who led crisis management headquarters, said on August 20 that the operation “is mainly over.”

“We have managed to defend our borders and security of our citizens,” he said in a televised statement.

EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said on August 30 that it “follows events at the Dagestan section of the Georgian border.”

“The EU Monitoring Mission has been informed by Georgian authorities about the special operation at the Dagestan section of the Russian-Georgian border. In close cooperation with other EU actors the Mission is following the events closely. The EU Monitoring Mission expresses its condolences over the deaths of the Georgian law enforcement personnel involved in the operation,” EUMM said in a statemen

A statement on vdagestan.info, website of the Islamist insurgency's Dagestan section, said that “the leadership of mujahideens of the Vilayat Dagestan confirms” that its militants were involved in armed clashes against the Georgian troops. It said that the militants were not intending to “carry out any operation on the Georgian territory”.

It also said that militants did not take anyone in hostage. “That is slander and a lie of the Georgian authorities,” reads the statement.

It also said that those 11 militants who have died in the clash were victims of the Georgian authorities’ “treacherous” plot and called “to immediately cease military actions against mojahedins”.

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