Ten ethnic Azerbaijanis serving in the Georgian military left their army unit Monday and fled to the capital, Tbilisi, complaining of poor living conditions and maltreatment by fellow soldiers and superiors.
One of the deserters, Boris Gadzhiyev, complained that soldiers were inadequately fed and lacked warm clothes, and said they were mistreated by fellow servicemen because of their poor knowledge of Georgian.
Military officials denied the accusations, saying the soldiers were serving in good conditions.
After filing an official complaint at the office of the state human rights commissioner, the soldiers were taken to the Defense Ministry headquarters, the AP reports.
The servicemen were likely to be returned to their unit, military officials said. According to Georgian law, if the servicemen resume their duties within 48 hours after leaving their units, the incident will not be considered desertion. A.M.