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Abkhaz PM Orders Crackdown on "Criminal Gangs"
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Mar.'05 / 15:41

Abkhaz Prime Minister Aleksander Ankvab, who survived an assassination attempt on February 28, has ordered Interior Minister Otar Khetsia to crack down on criminal gangs which actively influence Abkhazia's economic life.

Ankvab linked an assassination attempt with his decisions regarding increase of taxes on export of scrap metal and other goods. They are "unacceptable to those who earned and are still earning immense sums of money from this business."

Smuggling is the only article for the economy of Abkhazia, secessionist republic on Georgia's North-Western border with Russia. Multiple military-criminal gangs subordinated to government-linked warlords have usually controlled this trade. The attempts of Ankvab to establish uniform government control over these flows might trigger clashes, observers say.

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