Firearms Find Puzzles Politicians
Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) stated yesterday that they had, together with the State Security Service (SSS) and the Prosecutor General's Office (POG), found and seized a large amount of ammunition, military weapons and explosive materials from several locations throughout Georgia on September 29th.
The ammunition, of Russian origin, was hidden in special caches located on a territory near Norio, in the Gori forest, in Tbilisi in a forest near to a domestic waste polygon and a cache was also found near the Mukhatgverdi Military cemetery. Another cache was located in Saguramo, 32 kilometers from the capital.
According to the MIA, the military ammunition is know to have been hidden there in different periods, particularly in 2009-2011. The police have launched an investigation into the case.
The find resulted in political controversy in Georgia with the Opposition claiming the case is related to the upcoming October 8 parliamentary elections.
Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mgebrishvili denies the claim and insists the investigation is on-going to reveal who hid the firearms and why.
He also rejected one suggestion that the ammunition was hidden for self-defense purposes, saying in such cases special documents should exist.
“We checked and such documents could not be found in the MIA or Ministry of Defense,” Mgebrishvili said.
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, also commented on the issue and thanked everyone who participated in the operation.
“This was a complex operation…And the issue should be carefully investigated,” he noted.
According to rumors, the seized arms are related to the audio recording of an alleged conversation between Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and members of his United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, who discuss in the recording various strategies for organizing and staging a coup and large demonstrations throughout the country.
Irakli Kobakhidze, an Executive Secretary of the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD) said there are some suspicions that the ammunition was hidden by representatives of the former government. However, he says these are only doubts and the investigation will find the truth.
“We know what kind of force the UNM is and it was capable of such things in the past when it was in power. Of course, there are some doubts as to why the former government needed such informal caches… I hope the investigation will soon reveal all,” Kobakhidze told Imedi TV.
The UNM responded to the charges, saying the rumors are nothing but pre-election mud-slinging.
“GD wants to have everyone focused on this fictional topic but they have to realize that people just don't believe such lies anymore,” Salome Samadashvili, UNM member, said.
Davit Usupashvili, Parliament Speaker and the leader of the opposition party Republicans, is calling on the MIA to investigate the case before the elections.
“I do not think anyone hid these arms several years ago in order to use them against this government,” stated Usupashvili.
By Thea Morrison
Photo: A large amount of ammunition, military weapons and explosive materials were found and seized from several locations in Georgia. Source: adjaratv.ge