Russian forces kidnap 9 Georgians near occupied Tskhinvali

Barbed wire fence installed by Russian border guards at the occupation line in Georgia. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 13 May 2016 - 14:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian border guards stationed along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) between Georgia and occupied Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia) have kidnapped and detained nine Georgian residents today.

Nine people were detained earlier this morning and charged with illegally crossing the so-called border into de facto Tskhinvali.

The victims were all residents of Korbouli Village in western Sachkhere region.

Village locals told media a group of 12 people went into the wood near the village to pick capers. A short time later nine members of the group were "snatched” by Russian occupying forces for illegally crossing the ABL, which separates breakaway Tskhinvali from Georgia. 

It is understood the nine detained Georgian citizens were taken to a detention centre in Tskhinvali. The kidnap victims have not yet made contact with their families.

Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze said Georgia would use all existing formats to address the issue and somehow settle the problem. 

Unfortunately it is not for the first time when Georgians are abducted. Provocative actions still continue. We will use all levers we own to address the problem and protect our citizens,” Janelidze said. 

Locals say, based on past experience, de facto authorities in Tskhinvali would only release the kidnapped people once their families paid a fine in exchange for their release.