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Criminals Suspected In Abkhaz Assassination Attempt


http://gdb.rferl.org/79FA7E8E-F98B-4A0B-B879-03DA8F475413_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/79FA7E8E-F98B-4A0B-B879-03DA8F475413_mw800_mh600.jpg 1 March 2005 -- In Georgia's separatist republic of Abkhazia, Prime Minister Aleksandr Ankvab survived an overnight assassination attempt that authorities believe might be linked to his recent pledges to combat organized crime in the secessionist republic.

Late yesterday, unidentified gunmen opened fire on Ankvab's motorcade while en route to Gudauta, north of the capital Sukhum. The gunmen fled after riddling Ankvab's vehicle with a round of bullets.

Ankvab escaped unharmed, as he was traveling in a different car in the motorcade.

Ankvab said he has not ruled out any possibilities, including political and criminal factors, playing possible roles in the attack.

"Forces that do not like the course taken by the new Abkhaz leadership could be behind this [assassination attempt]. Our policy aims at combating crime, strengthening discipline, and bringing order into the economy. There is an entire category of people whom this does not suit," Ankvab said.

President Sergei Bagapsh today said he thinks there are criminal factors behind the attempt on Ankvab's life.

(RFE/RL's Georgian Service and correspondents/Interfax/AP/ITAR-TASS)
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