President Saakashvili said on June 23 that arms caches, which the Interior Ministry says it found in Samegrelo region, were in fact those secret storages which he instructed to create after the August, 2008 war as part of a broader defensive plan in case of resumption of aggression against the country.
“Defense fortifications were installed, especially around the capital; we also created arms storages – that was my instruction; storages of weapons were created throughout Georgia, in those parts which are under our control… because not to be as defenseless as our infrastructure was in 2008 – despite our army’s heroic resistance – in case of resumption of aggression,” Saakashvili told journalists in the town of Gori, where he participated in the wine festival.
“So there is nothing new either for me or for the new government and the Defense Ministry that there are arms storages,” he added.
The Interior Ministry said on June 17 that underground cache of arms, explosives and munitions, stored in eight plastic barrels, was unearthed in the Samegrelo region. It said that the cache was made under “the direct supervision of former high ranking officials of the interior ministry during the previous authorities.” The Interior Ministry also said that unearthing of this storage helped “to prevent an especially grave crime directed against the state and public security.”
After the announcement about the arms cache was made by the Interior Ministry, some lawmakers from President Saakashvili’s UNM party said that it was the Defense Ministry’s secret arms storage. But Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Defense Minister Irakli Alasania denied it, saying that the arms found in the cache were unregistered.
The Interior Ministry also said that along with arms and explosives, the cache also included videotapes, some of them showing torture of detainees by the law enforcement officers in 2011.
Interior Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, said on June 21 that another arms cache with more videotapes was found in the Samegrelo region; he said that the ministry would release details of the newly found cache on Monday.
Commenting on the arms storages, President Saakashvili also said on June 23 that he doubted these videotapes were found along with the arms. “I think we all understand that there were no videotapes in the arms storages,” he said.
Saakashvili reiterated his earlier remarks on the torture videos and said that those involved in inhuman treatment of detainees should be punished strictly and again suggested that these were isolated cases.