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Georgia: Breakaway Region Declares State Of Emergency

Tbilisi, 19 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia has reimposed a state of emergency in the regional capital Tskhinvali reportedly to deal with a crime wave.

Itar-Tass says the state of emergency was imposed by decree by South Ossetian leader Ludvig Chibirov. Chibirov told reporters it included a midnight to dawn curfew and would last for two months. Meanwhile, Reuters quoted Tskhinvali commandant Rustam Yuskayev as saying the state of emergency had been in place for several years until July when it automatically lapsed.

South Ossetia, populated mostly by ethnic Ossetians, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 because of what it claimed was growing nationalism in Georgia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The fighting that followed killed some 1,000 people and left more than 10,000 refugees. No state has recognized South Ossetia.