Explosions Hit Georgian Town Bordering Abkhazia

TBILISI (Reuters)–Three explosions within three hours hit a town in western Georgia overnight near the breakaway region of Abkhazia, injuring one person, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

Two of the blasts occurred at the railway station in the town of Zugdidi, the first at midnight in an empty train carriage and the second in a litter bin, just over a week after a bomb exploded on the railway line in a village near Zugdidi.

The third device exploded almost three hours after the first, outside a police station in the town.

Tensions are running high in the former Soviet republic, after two months of opposition street protests demanding President Mikheil Saakashvili resign over his record on democracy and a five-day war with Russia last year.

Russia crushed a Georgian assault on the breakaway region of South Ossetia and subsequently recognised it and Abkhazia as independent states with Russian military support.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said the blasts were the work of “forces that do not want stability in the region.” He said they appeared to have been caused by around eight kilograms of TNT explosives.

Television pictures showed the damaged roof of a train carriage and shattered windows. Police initially said no one had been injured, but a statement later released by the Interior Ministry said a railway worker had received “serious injuries” and was admitted to hospital.

A bomb blast on June 2 damaged Georgia’s main east-west railway line near Zugdidi and the de facto Abkhaz border. Authorities at the time accused “terrorists” of sabotage.

Railway authorities said on Thursday that trains were running on time after a brief halt to check the damage.

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