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Mine Blasts Rock Georgia's Rebel Abkhazia

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Mines killed at least one person and wounded seven others in Georgia's rebel Abkhazia region today, Russian news agencies reported.

The blasts rocked the Gali district in Abkhazia's east, next to Georgia proper and populated mainly by some 45,000 Georgians who returned after the 1992-93 war that overthrew Tbilisi's central rule.

RIA news agency said an Abkhaz police officer and two civilians were killed when their car exploded on a mine. Interfax said only a policemen had been killed.

The agencies, which quoted Abkhaz security officials, said four policemen were rushed to hospital in critical condition. Three residents were also being treated for wounds.

Local officials could not be reached for comment.

Paramilitaries on both sides operated in the region after Abkhazia's war with Georgia and residents complain of continued lawlessness.

In August 2008, Abkhazia took advantage of Tbilisi's attempt to retake by force its other rebel region, South Ossetia, and flushed out Georgian security forces from a chunk of its land.

Russia, which provides moral and financial support for Georgia's separatist regions, recognized both Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states after the 2008 war.