Russian media: Man who blew himself up in breakaway Abkhazia was Russian citizen

  • Sokhumi after the 20 years of Abkhazia war, which saw Abkhazia become a breakaway region of Georgia. Photo by, 18 Oct 2016 - 12:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

The man who blew himself up in Sokhumi, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region on Monday, is believed to be a Russian citizen.

Russian News Agency TASS quoted de facto Secretary of the Abkhazian Security Council Mukhamed Kilba, who said the man was a resident of Rostov region in south Russia.

On Monday morning a man set off a suicide bomb in front of a television station in Sokhumi. De facto authorities of the breakaway region assessed the blast as an attempted terrorist attack.

It has been established that the man who died today during the explosion on the premises of the Abkhazian State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company is not a citizen of Abkhazia but is a resident of the Rostov region of the Russian Federation," Kilba told TASS yesterday.
It has been established that he came to the republic back on October 2. The terrorist act, which he tried to carry out, was aimed against a particular Abkhazian politician. The crime has been almost solved," he added.

Kilba added the man spent time in in Abkhazia over summer with an acquaintance "apparently with the aim of reconnaissance".

Measures are currently underway to establish the dead person’s possible contacts in the Rostov region," Kilba said.

The bomb contained up to 200 grams of TNT. 

Earlier on Monday, de facto officials said the explosive device was intended for an attack against an unspecified Abkhaz politician but it apparently the bomb accidentally detonated earlier than intended.

However earlier speculation suggested a different version; de facto authorities initially thought a shrapnel-filled explosive device was intended to be detonated in a public place to cause maximum casualties and the television station was most likely not the target. No employees of the Abkhazian TV station or security guards were hurt in the incident.

Since the explosion, upon the order of de facto Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba, security at public places have been tightened.

Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed. Russia effectively gained complete control over it and a second breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia, after a brief war against Georgia in 2008.