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Georgia Arrests Ethnic Ossetians Suspected Of Spying

24 June 2004 -- Georgian authorities today said they have arrested three ethnic Ossetians on suspicion of espionage.

Deputy Interior Minister Giorgi Getsadze said the three -- whom he described as Russian citizens -- were apprehended in the Java district, a mountainous area of the separatist republic of South Ossetia.

The Georgian Interior Ministry today carried out a limited security operation in the district. Georgia is trying to reassert control over South Ossetia, which has been de facto independent since the late 1980s.

All three men arrested today were said to have been carrying weapons, military uniforms, and local maps. They are suspected of illegally entering South Ossetia from Russia's Republic of North Ossetia.

(RFE/RL/Prime News Georgia/Novosti-Gruziya)