A former warlord, Emzar Kvitsiani, who was in charge of Kodori gorge in breakaway Abkhazia before being ousted from there by government forces in 2006, was arrested in Tbilisi airport on February 28 upon arrival from Moscow.
Kvitsiani, who was wanted by Tbilisi since 2006 for charges related to formation of illegal armed group and armed mutiny, said before his arrival that although knowing that the authorities were going to arrest him upon the return, he wanted to cooperate and seek justice.
“I am going to cooperate with the investigation,” he told RFE/RL’s Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, in Moscow just before boarding the plane to Tbilisi.
Up until 2008 August war, upper part of Kodori gorge was the only area in breakaway Abkhazia under Tbilisi’s control. The Monadire (Hunter) paramilitary group was formed by the local Georgian residents after the armed conflict broke out in Abkhazia in 1992 to protect the gorge from potential Abkhaz offensive. The group was in charge of the gorge and central government’s authority was nominal over Kodori. It, however, changed in summer 2006. On July 22, 2006 Kvitsiani, who was head of the Monadire paramilitary group, announced defiance to the Georgian central authorities and refused to disarm his paramilitary group; authorities responded by sending troops to Kodori, forcing Kvitsiani to flee.