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Georgia confirms death of two policemen in conflict area

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Georgia confirmed Sunday that two Georgian policemen have been killed in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict area.
TBILISI, March 25 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia confirmed Sunday that two Georgian policemen have been killed in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict area.

The interior minister of Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia earlier said two Georgian special troops were shot dead Sunday in a clash with South Ossetian police near the village of Didmukha located 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away from Tskhinvali, the capital of the unrecognized republic.

But the Georgian representative rejected South Ossetia's information that Georgian special troops had allegedly planned subversive activity near the South Ossetian village and were attacked by the unrecognized republic's police.

"During a planned patrol of the area from the village of Avnevi towards the Ossetian village of Nikozi, which is controlled by the Georgian side, an ambush was discovered. The ambush included about ten Ossetians who opened fire at the Georgian policemen's vehicle from a grenade launcher and large-caliber weapons," said Shota Khizanishvili, head of the Georgian Interior Ministry administration.

According to Khizanishvili, the head of a Georgian police department and his driver were killed in the fire.

This information has been confirmed by the group of the OSCE monitoring, which has been investigating the incident since the morning of March 25, Khizanishvili said.

South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia following a bloody conflict that killed hundreds in 1991-1992. The pro-Western Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili has said it is determined to bring the breakaway region back under its control.

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