Russian border soldiers have kidnapped two Georgian farmers who were herding their cattle near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), one of the country’s occupied territories.
Locals said the two Georgian cattle herders were detained today by armed Russian occupying forces from Tsitelubani village, which is located on Georgian-controlled territory.
The men have been named as Kakha Begheluri and Givi Kisievi.
Since 2009 more than 2,000 Georgian citizens have been detained by Russian border guards at ABL’s near Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) and Abkhazia regions.
Meanwhile Tsitelubani village residents said the area where the two men were snatched was a typical place where local farmers grazed their cattle.
Not long after the men were detained, Begheluri phoned his family and told them he had been taken to Tsinagari village, which is located within occupied Tskhinvali region.
Locals said as a rule, Russian border guards and de facto representatives of the occupied territory accused individuals of illegally crossing the so-called border and demanded a ransom in exchange for their release.
Official figures released by local non-governmental organization Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) revealed more than 2,000 Georgian citizens have been detained by Russian border guards in the past six years.
Specifically, between 2009-2015 the agency said 2,117 Georgian citizens had been kidnapped at ABL’s near Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) and Abkhazia regions. The data, based on statistics provided by Georgia’s Interior Ministry, claimed every single detention had been charged with illegally crossing the so-called border.
IDFI said: "1,416 have been detained at the ABL with Abkhazia while 701 at the Tskhinvali Administrative Boundary Line.”
In 2014 from both ABL’s 512 individuals were kidnapped while in the first quarter of 2015 139 individuals have been detained for alleged illegal crossing of the boundary,” IDFI said.
Georgian officials and the international community condemned Russia’s creeping occupation of Georgian soil, and kidnapping of Georgian citizens off Georgian-controlled territory.