The Russian authorities should take immediate steps to stop South Ossetian militias from attacking ethnic Georgians in Akhalgori district, Human Rights Watch said on November 25.
“South Ossetian militias are running wild attacking ethnic Georgians in Akhalgori. It is high time for Russia to step up to its responsibilities as an occupying power in South Ossetia and rein them in,” Tanya Lokshina, deputy director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, said.
Researchers from the rights group visited on November 20-21 villages in the mainly ethnic Georgian-populated Akhalgori district, which is administratively within the borders of former South Ossetian Autonomous District and which came under the South Ossetian militias’ control only after the August war.
“[Researchers] interviewed several ethnic Georgians who described how armed South Ossetian militias have been harassing and attacking local residents and looting their property. Human Rights Watch also documented two attacks in November by South Ossetian militias against elderly civilians, one of whom died,” the group said.
HRW said that fearing the militias, many local residents had left the district. In one of the schools 136 students remained, out of total 236, the group said.