TBILISI, DFWatch – This morning’s roadside ambush has left one of de facto Abkhazian president Alexander Ankvab’s bodyguards dead, and authorities are now using helicopters to hunt down the attackers.
The attack happened at 08:25 in the morning Moscow time. News agency Interfax quotes an unnamed source saying that the president’s motorcade was hit by a land mine. The attackers then opened fire from a nearby hill, using automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades.
Remzik Tsugba, one of the guards died early morning. The other two were taken to the hospital.
Ankvab himself has arrived at his office, his spokesman Christian Bzhania says.
“Today’s attack on the President of Abkhazia Ankvab was carefully planned and well organized,” Itar Tass quotes Bzhania saying. “Crime was significantly different with its organization.”
The convoy had five cars, one of which was completely burned. The other vehicles, including the president’s car, were seriously damaged, he says.
Then an intense exchange of fire ensued, as Ankvab’s guards returned fire.
The de facto police says the attackers dissapeared in the mountains and that authorities now are using helicopters in their search for them.
Today was the sixth attack on the leader, who has been prime minister and vice president before becoming president of the de facto republic following an election in August 2011.
On February 28, 2005 there was opened fire against his motorcade along the Sukhumi – Gudauta road as Ankvab returned to work; On April, 2005 the same thing happened on the same road.
On June 20, 2007 he was the target of a land mine hidden in the road and controlled remotely, Abkhazian news agency Apsny Press writes.
On July 9, 2007 his jeep was fired at with a grenade launcher, which resulted in Ankvab receiving a mild concussion and several shrapnel wounds in the back.
On the night of 22 to 23 September 2010, a house Ankvab was staying at near Gudauta was hit by a grenade in the middle of the night, and he was slightly wounded, Apsny Press writes.
Itar Tass writes that local observers do not rule out that the incident may be an attempt at destabilizing the situation ahead of the March 10 parliamentary elections.