Bodies of Georgians found in Abkhazian grave return home

In September 1993 a plane carrying more than 120 people from Tbilisi was shot down while landing., 16 May 2014 - 23:23, Tbilisi,Georgia

It's been 21 years since the Babushera tragedy in Abkhazia and the bodies of thirteen Georgians who died in the crash are finally being returned home.

A plane carrying more than 120 people from Tbilisi was shot down while landing at Babushera Airport in Sokhumi on September 20, 1993, during the Abkhaz war. The event happened a few days before Tbilisi lost the battle for Sukhumi on September 27, 1993.

The Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia said the remains of the 13 Georgians who died on that fateful day would be sent to a medical examiner’s office in Zagreb, Croatia. There, the remains would go through an anthropological analysis, while family members of the 13 heroes would have their DNA tested by the Levan Samkharauli National Forensic Bureau.

"After comparison of these two data, the bodies will be identified and returned to the families,” Minister Davit Darakhvelidze stated.

He said Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili would personally observe the process.

"The history of the war in Abkhazia and this particular tragedy has been an unhealed pain for our society and this wound could be reopened today but it is important that families and future generations have their heroes' graves buried according to traditions and rules," Minister Darakhvelidze added.

In addition, he expressed gratitude towards the International Committee of the Red Cross for its support in the process of recovering the bodies.

Minister Darakhvelidze said the international humanitarian aid group helped facilitate cooperation between de-facto Abkhaz authorities and Georgian officials.