10 December 2012, 15:56

Head of Georgian MIA promises Pankisi residents to run high-quality inquiry into special operation in Lopota

In the course of their meeting with Irakli Garibashvili, the head of the Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), residents of Pankisi Gorge acquainted him with their versions of what had happened during the special operation in Lopota Gorge. The Minister promised to run an impartial investigation into the incident, the press service of the MIA reports.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on August 29 the Georgia's MIA announced a detection of an armed grouping in Lopota Gorge (Kakheti Region), which allegedly had came at night from Dagestan. It consisted of the Chechens who had been granted refugee status in the West. During the operation civilians were released; three commandos were killed and five more wounded. 11 suspected militants were liquidated.

"I'll definitely check the objective nature of the inquiry into the events in Lopota Gorge," the "News-Georgia" quotes Minister Garibashvili as saying.

The General Prosecutor's Office of Georgia has re-launched the inquiry into the operation in Lopota Gorge. Also, currently Georgia is trying Akhmed Chataev, a Russian citizen, a resident of Northern Caucasus, who was detained on suspicion of involvement in illegal armed formations (IAFs).

According to Gela Mtivlishvili, one of the defence witnesses at Chataev's trial, an editor of the agency "Kakheti Information Centre", Chataev was not a militant – he was a negotiator between the Georgian law enforcers and the blocked grouping, who had been called to Lopota a certain Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, an off-staff employee of the Pankisi division of the Georgian Anti-Terror Centre.

According to the Georgian officers, who took part in the special operation, Akhmed Chataev had two grenades on him, in the right and left pockets of his jacket, which he gave out to policemen during his voluntary surrender. Chataev claims that he had no weapons and grenades on him. It is noteworthy that Chataev misses the right arm, lost during the war in Chechnya, which is why Chataev is also known as "one-armed Akhmed", the "Georgia Today" reports.

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