Georgian Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the police arrested three men intending terrorist attacks in Georgia’s second largest city Kutaisi and acting on instructions from a Russian military officer based in breakaway Abkhazia.
Manuchar Dzadzua, a resident of Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia, and his cousin Avtandil Dzadzua were arrested in Zugdidi, a town at the Abkhaz administrative border, on December 31, according to a statement released by the Interior Ministry.
Police said at the time of arrest Manuchar Dzadzua was carrying powerful explosive hexogen, or RDX as it is more widely known.
The Interior Ministry said that the explosive was handed over to the suspects by Alexei Ushakov, who was identified by the Georgian police as a serviceman of the Russian Federal Security Service’s border guard unit, serving in Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia.
A third man arrested by the police is a resident of the village of Orsantia in Zugdidi district, Manuchar Dzadzua, who, according to the Interior Ministry, helped to smuggle explosives from Abkhazia.
The Interior Ministry said that the suspects were “ordered” by the Russian officer to place explosives outside the local municipality building in Kutaisi, as well as outside the opposition Labor Party’s local office and outside the building housing local offices of Justice Ministry’s civil and public registries.
The Interior Ministry said that all three arrested men were charged with plotting a terrorist act.
The news about the arrest of alleged terrorist suspects and about the alleged foiled bombing broke on Thursday morning when the police sealed off local municipality building in the center of Kutaisi with witnesses saying that the police was presumably carrying out examination of a potential crime scene. The police was tight-lipped and the Interior Ministry released the statement late on Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile in Tbilisi, also on March 31, a street in the capital city’s Vake neighborhood was sealed off by the police and deminers were called to examine “a suspicious package” reportedly tossed from a passing car; it turned out to be a false alert with no explosives found.