Six persons, suspected in assassination attempt on Abkhaz leader Alexander Ankvab, were arrested on April 12, an official Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported citing the breakaway region’s prosecutor’s office.
The names of arrested suspects or other details were not reported, but all six persons seem to be local residents as they have been identified as “citizens of the [Abkhaz] republic.”
Ankvab survived assassination attempt on February 22, after an attack on his convoy on the road between Gudauta to Sokhumi in which two of his bodyguards were killed. It was fifth, or possibly sixth, attempt on Ankvab’s life since 2005. No one has ever been charged or arrested for previous assassination attempts.
Apsnipress also reported that arms, anti-tank rocket launcher and munitions, as well as night vision devices were found in houses of the arrested suspects.
RFE/RL’s Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, identified one of the arrested suspects as Anzor Butba, a well-known businessman in Abkhazia, who reportedly has a gravel pit in the breakaway region and also has business interests in agriculture.
When speaking about possible masterminds of his assassination attempt Ankvab mentioned “mafia, criminal groups” and “political circles close” to these groups.
“There are forces, which want Abkhazia to have controllable President and weak-willed, dependent supreme leadership,” Ankvab said in an interview with Apsnipress one day after the attack on his convoy in February.