(RIA Novosti) - Georgia's Interior Ministry launched Friday the second phase of a military operation in the Kodori Gorge, in its breakaway region of Abkhazia.
Georgian authorities said they would continue the search for militia leader and former presidential envoy Emzar Kvitsiani and his supporters, who are wanted for various crimes, in the remote region, reports Trend.
Georgia started what it termed an anticrime operation the area after Emzar Kvitsiani said on Sunday he did not recognize Tbilisi's rule. He said Georgian troops were moving into the area to disarm former members of his Hunter border guard battalion, which was formally disbanded in 2005, although most members refused to lay down their arms.
The Georgian Interior Ministry said three of Kvitsiani's supporters were detained last night with the help of local residents.
In all, police detained 25 supporters of the militia leader, but 70 more supporters could be hiding in the gorge.
Humanitarian aid was delivered to the gorge on the orders of President Mikheil Saakashvili Friday morning, local authorities said.
The Kodori Gorge in northern Georgia is the de facto boundary between the self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia and Georgian-controlled territory. The gorge is cut off from the rest of Georgia due to a lack of infrastructure and transportation, as well as its mountains and forests.