Georgian Interior Ministry said troops were sent to a border area with Russia in eastern region of Kakheti “to pursue” an unspecified “armed group.”
Video footage disseminated by the media showed police pickups and trucks transporting overnight on Wednesday troops through the village of Lapankuri in Telavi municipality close to the Dagestan section of the Georgian-Russian border; helicopter was also hovering over the area.
“Near the Georgian-Russian state border, at the Dagestan section the armed group was detected,” the Interior Ministry said in its brief statement, adding that the Georgian troops were “pursuing” the armed group.
“The gorge is blocked by the units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In order to ensure safety of the Georgian citizens the Ministry has taken all necessary measures. Further details will be made public later,” it said.
The Interior Ministry has also released video footage showing PM Vano Merabishvili meeting with Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia, Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin and Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili in Telavi.
Early on August 28 the Georgian television stations reported that five young men, residents of Lapankuri village, were missing for several days. Later on the same day it was reported that all five men were found; the five men were reportedly taken to the police for questioning.
At 12:15pm on Wednesday Rustavi 2 television station reported that “the operation is related to the efforts to release hostages” and the operation was carried out against “squad of saboteurs” which had infiltrated into Georgia supposedly from Dagestan.
Rustavi 2 TV said that apart of those five men, who were missing for several days, this “squad of saboteurs” had also abducted several other people.
“Intensive shooting was ongoing throughout the night. The Interior Ministry troops have managed to release one more group of hostages and, according to our information, ongoing operation now is related to the efforts to release the third group of hostages,” Rustavi 2 said.
It also said: “One of the saboteurs was liquidated.”