Tbilisi confirmed on February 23 that Soso Osurauli, former Georgian serviceman, working on a private contract in the Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo, is held captive by the Congolese rebel group M23, following a military helicopter crash in January.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in its statement that authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo addressed the Embassy of Georgia to South Africa on February 22 and confirmed that one Georgian citizen was captured by the opposition rebel groups in DR Congo, while another Georgian man was wounded and has been undergoing medical treatment in the government-held city of Goma.
The Georgian MFA added that “an investigation is underway” by the Congolese armed forces, based on the information provided by their Congolese counterparts.
Beka Dvali, Georgian Ambassador to South Africa, confirmed in his interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) that Osurauli was captured by the March 23 Movement, a rebel group in the eastern part of DR Congo.
“We are communicating with the official representatives of the Democratic Republic of Congo through diplomatic channels and there have been no talks on ransom [yet],” Dvali stated.
Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria said that Soso Osurauli, military pilot, left the Georgian armed forces in March 2015.
Two military helicopters crashed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with at least four crew members on board, according to the January 30 report of Reuters.