Russia: November 12, 2002

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The Georgian State Security Ministry said that the search for arms caches set up by Chechen rebels and their Arab friends is currently underway in the Pankisi gorge. Three caches have been found in the gorge in the past week, and chances are likely that they will find more. The largest of the caches was found on the 9th, deep in the forest above the village of Joqolo. Georgian secret service agents and policemen have seized several Strela and Igla portable SAM systems, a Fagot antitank missile system (also useful for knocking down helicopters), machine-guns, assault rifles and grenade launchers from the caches. 

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze had claimed on 4 November that the operation to rid the Pankisi Gorge of rebels and criminals should be completed within two-three weeks. The Pankisi gorge has hosted up to 800 rebels until recently, but the Georgians claim that there no more than 60 of them remaining in the area. - Adam Geibel

 

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