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Georgians Abducted In South Ossetia

6 December 2005 -- Authorities in Tbilisi say 20 ethnic Georgians, including at least three policemen, were abducted today in the separatist republic of South Ossetia.

Georgian officials blame armed South Ossetians for the incident, which took place near the ethnic Ossetian village of Dmenisi.

Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili demanded that South Ossetian authorities and Russian peacekeepers stationed in the conflict zone secure the immediate release of the prisoners.

On 5 December, Georgian security forces arrested a South Ossetian police officer on counterfeiting charges. News report say the officer was wounded during the operation, which took place near an ethnic Georgian in South Ossetia, Ergneti.

Russia, which has close ties with South Ossetia, on 5 December accused Georgia of escalating tensions in the region.

(Imedi TV/Prime News/Novosti Gruziya)

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