Violent Incident in Javakhk Averted

TBILISI (Noyan Tapan)–A military incident Friday in Georgia’s Armenian-populated Javakhk region was averted without casualties or serious consequences.

The Georgian Defense Ministry had scheduled military exercises in Javakhk–bordering Armenia–and had made announcemen’s regarding the maneuvers on state television for the past month.

A brigade of Georgian forces nearing the Armenian-populated Akhalkalak region were met by surprise Thursday by a band of 25 armed Armenia’s who surrounded the Georgian forces and demanded their retreat from the area.

According to Radio Free Europe the Russian military commander in the region–responded rather strangely to the incident. The Georgian military exercises were scheduled to include the participation of Russian troops in that area–70 percent of whom are Armenian.

The Russian military representatives did not attend the exercises.

While the Georgian forces were surrounded by the alleged Armenian gunmen–a group of unidentified people–raided the Russian military weapons depot–located in Akhalkalak and have looted the arsenal.

Reports indicated that the depot was not guarded at the time of the alleged raid.

Meanwhile–residents in Akhalkalak were reportedly told that the Georgian forces were entering the region with the aim of forcibly evacuating Armenian residents from the region.

A bomb exploded at the Akhalkalak regional government building Thursday night. There were no casualties.

According to radio reports–the Georgian Defense Ministry immediately withdrew its forces from the region. Georgian police arrested two alleged gunmen involved in the incident–while the remainder managed to escape.

Police reported that the identity of the armed men was known.

Georgia’s national security ministry reported Friday that the so-called military attack was allegedly organized by the "Javakhk" Armenian organization–which operates out of the Akhalkalak region.

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