January 8th, 2007 05:40 EST
Georgia: UN deplores killing of policeman as violence spikes
The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) today condemned an attack on a checkpoint that left one policeman dead and another wounded, calling on the Government and Abkhaz separatists to prevent a further escalation of violence.
The 5 January incident took place in the village of Ganmukhuri and followed on the heels of killings that occurred on 25 and 26 December in the Gali district, a region where fighting forced nearly 300,000 refugees to flee their homes14 years ago.
Warning that the violence “undermines security in the zone of conflict,” the mission said all perpetrators must be apprehended and brought to justice.
In a statement, the mission called on both sides to cooperate to prevent any escalation of violence.
In response to the volatility of the security environment, UNOMIG said it has increased the number and frequency of its patrols in the affected areas of the zone of conflict. “The Mission is determined to continue to do everything within its power to prop up stability in the region and assist the communities concerned.”
UNOMIG, which consists of some 135 uniformed personnel supported by more than 100 international civilian personnel and 182 local civilian staff, was set up in 1993 and expanded the following year after an accord ended the fighting in Georgia's north-western corner.