Georgian border guards took no measures to protect OSCE patrol

Some details of the incident involving a border monitoring patrol of the OSCE mission in Georgia have come to RIA Novosti's attention.

According to a source in Russian secret services, at 11:00 a.m. Moscow time on September 20, a border monitoring patrol of the OSCE mission in Georgia, when following its route, was detained by unknown armed men.

"As a result of negotiations, which lasted about an hour, the sides agreed that an OSCE representative would not send an air patrol to this region within the next two days, and the detained would not inform their command of what happened and would not use the Iridium signals system for contacts with their command," the source told RIA Novosti.

According to his information, "the international monitors identified a camp of militants situated on the right bank of the river Kistinka, which contained about 25 men, equipped with small arms and sniper's rifles". The bandits planned to leave the camp by the end of September 22. As the source remarked, despite this, K.Salia, acting chief of staff of Georgia's border department, after receiving information that OSCE monitors had been detained /9:00 p.m. on September 20/, said that "too much time has elapsed and it is impossible to organise any pursuit".

The source indicated that when the monitors were being detained four Georgian border guards accompanying them took no steps to protect their charges and associated peacefully with the bandits.

Earlier on Wednesday, Alexander Yakovenko, an official Foreign Ministry spokesman, had expressed puzzlement over the fact that the OSCE had previously failed to see "unidentified armed men" on Georgia's territory. Asked why the OSCE reported the incident only three days later, Yakovenko noted that now this question is being elucidated with OSCE headquarters.

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