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Georgia to 'do everything' to free 4 officers held in S.Ossetia

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Georgia's Defense Ministry confirmed Tuesday an earlier report that four of its officers had been detained in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone and said it would try to secure their release.
TBILISI, July 8 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's Defense Ministry confirmed Tuesday an earlier report that four of its officers had been detained in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone and said it would try to secure their release.

The Georgian breakaway republic's information and press committee said four Georgian officers had been detained, adding that they were conducting reconnaissance in South Ossetia and were carrying identification.

"The Georgian state will do everything it can to free them," said Mamuka Kurashvili, the chief of the Georgian ministry's peacekeeping operations staff.

He said the four officers were visiting friends near the conflict zone. "When they were returning, an armed gang of Ossetians and North Caucasus militants abducted the four officers," he said. "They are holding them illegally."

South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, resulting in a bloody conflict that killed hundreds of people. The pro-Western Georgian leadership has said it is determined to bring the breakaway region, along with the rebel region of Abkhazia, back under Tbilisi's control.

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