( Civil ) - President of secessionist province of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh said Abkhazia called partial mobilisation of troops to fend of possible Georgian incursion, Interfax reports. This follows a statement of Bagapsh's representive in Gali district, Ruslan Kishmaria, about the movement of the Georgian troops towards the administrative border. Kishmaria said 17 vehicles with Georgian troops from Senaki military base plus some 160 special forces troopers were moved close to Abkhazia border by Georgian authorities.
The situation escalated following the media reports, quoting Abkhaz authorities earlier today about an explosion and, possibly a shootout that injured at least three Abkhaz militiamen in Gali district, close to administrative border of Abkhazia. There are no independent confirmations of the incident and no details have emerged about it.
The bout of escalation follows arrest of the Georgian journalist at the bridge linking Abkhazia with the rest of Georgia on 26 February. Abkhaz authorities have accused him of spying. President Mikheil Saakashvili called the secessionist authorities to immediately release him or face dire reprecussions.
Earlier, on 26 February, Chief of Staff of the Abkhaz armed forces said the live shootings involving some 100 pieces of artillery, 2000 reserve troops and a tank batallion were planned for 1-5 March. It was announced today that due to "escalating situation" the drills started a day earlier.
The UN Observer Mission in the conflict zone, UNOMIG has recently warned about unconfirmed media information from the region stoking tensions.