An Abkhazian gang has kidnapped eight Georgians from the village of Otobaia in the Gali region.
The party of eight civilians, four men and four women, had travelled to Otobaia from Zugdidi intending to gather nuts. They were attacked by the Abkhazian gang and subsequently kidnapped. The kidnappers demanded that Goderdzi Epelia be exchanged for the nut pickers. Although the women in the party were later released and returned to Georgian law enforcement officers the men are still held.
Goderdzi Epelia has been detained by Georgia for manufacturing and selling illegal drugs. Epelia’s brother is a member of the Gali Abkhazian militia, and it has been suggested that he organised this kidnapping. It is not known exactly where the hostages are being held, but it is believed they are in an isolator in Gali where they can be subjected to physical pressure.