Grenade attack escalates South Ossetia crisis
A rocket-propelled grenade attack targeted an official in Georgia's rebel region of South Ossetia on Tuesday as a crisis sparked by annulled leadership polls intensified.
Security services said a grenade was fired at the prosecutor general's apartment early morning Tuesday in tiny Moscow-backed South Ossetia, which has been shaken by demonstrations for a week since the supreme court cancelled poll results that gave an opposition candidate victory.
"I was at home at the time together with my family, my wife and two young children. Fortunately no one was hurt," said prosecutor Taymuraz Khugayev, local news agency RES reported.
Eduard Kokoity, the outgoing strongman leader in the heavily-militarised region which was the focus of the 2008 Georgia-Russia war, said the attack was a "well-planned provocation".
"The people who committed this crime and the forces that stand behind them will receive the necessary punishment," Kokoity said, according to RES.
South Ossetia's supreme court on Tuesday rejected an appeal to reverse its cancellation of the November 27 poll results which gave female opposition challenger Alla Dzhioyeva a surprise win over a candidate backed by the region's patron Russia.
Dzhioyeva condemned the court's decision as "political" and said she would maintain defiance by setting up her own parallel administration.
"We intend to carry out an inauguration and then form our own government," she said, according to news agency Interfax.
Kokoity said however that the authorities would uphold the court's ruling and anyone who tried to establish "illegal structures" would be prosecuted, Interfax reported.
Moscow recognised the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia, shortly after the 2008 war despite other world powers insisting that both territories remain an integral part of Georgia.
Georgia said fair elections were impossible because the South Ossetia is "occupied" by thousands of Russian troops stationed there since the war, when most ethnic Georgian inhabitants were expelled.
© 2011 AFP