08TBILISI1161, POLICE CHIEF KILLED, SANAKOYEV TARGETED IN SOUTH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1161 2008-07-04 08:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9966
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1161/01 1860803
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 040803Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9723
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001161 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: POLICE CHIEF KILLED, SANAKOYEV TARGETED IN SOUTH 
OSSETIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 1141 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
Explosions in South Ossetia 
--------------------------- 
 
1. (SBU) OSCE told Poloff July 3 that separatist South 
Ossetian police chief Nodar Bibilov was killed in an 
explosion outside his home around 0600 in the South Ossetian 
village of Dmenisi on July 3.  The OSCE told Post that a 
monitoring team had visited the site.  They said an explosive 
device was set in an outside toilet that was somehow 
activated, perhaps by a cow.  The explosion fatally injured 
Bibilov, who was apparently nearby in the yard.  He died 
after being taken to a hospital.  The de facto authorities 
immediately labeled the attack a "terrorist act" carried out 
by Georgian secret services.  (Note: Bibilov led an attack on 
a Georgian police station 2-3 years ago, when Irakli 
Okruashvili was Defense Minister.  In the attack, Bibilov and 
his men kidnapped Georgian police in a very public and 
humiliating manner.  The de facto authorities have alleged 
this was the reason for the alleged Georgian reprisal.  End 
note.) 
 
2. (SBU) In a separate incident, at between 0930 and 1100 on 
July 3, President of the Georgian Government-backed Temporary 
Administrative Unit Dmitry Sanakoyev's motorcade was 
attacked.  OSCE told Post that a mine was detonated near his 
motorcade on a road in Tskhinvali, as Sanakoyev was on his 
way to the European Neighborhood Policy Conference in Batumi. 
 After the explosion, a shootout ensued between Sanakoyev's 
Georgian bodyguards and the attackers.  Three Georgian 
policemen (Sanakoyev's bodyguards) were taken to the Gori 
military hospital and treated for injuries.  Sanakoyev was 
not hurt and there were no other reported casualties. 
 
Who's Behind the Attacks 
------------------------ 
 
3. (C) OSCE Political Advisor Gancho Gantchev told Poloff 
that he does not believe the Georgians killed Bibilov. 
Gantchev said Bibilov was a powerful, local figure who was 
likely involved in smuggling and other nefarious activity and 
was resented for his influence.  Gantchev believes it likely 
that Bibilov was targeted for one of these reasons. 
Conversely, Gantchev told Poloff that he believes Sanakoyev 
was targeted specifically by the South Ossetian de facto 
authorities.  Gantchev said the OSCE does not/not possess any 
info indicating that the two incidents in South Ossetia were 
related to each other or to recent explosions in Abkhazia 
(reftel).  Separately, MOIA's Shota Utiashvili told Post that 
the Georgian Government believed that South Ossetian de facto 
leader Kokoity was behind the attack on Sanakoyev, as a 
result of previous death threats against Sanakoyev as well as 
the purported fact that bombs had been planted previously 
against other Georgians by South Ossetians in this same area. 
 
Russian Missions in Abkhazia? 
----------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) On July 3 Georgian officials reacted strongly and 
negatively to alleged Russian reports -- reported by Georgian 
Rustavi-2 TV -- that the Russian Foreign Ministry announced 
it will establish diplomatic missions in Sukhumi and 
Tskhinvali.  These missions would allegedly carry out all the 
official functions of an embassy.  Reportedly, the Sukhumi 
mission was to open on July 2, but was postponed due to the 
recent blasts.  The Tskhinvali mission would reportedly open 
on July 9.  MP Givi Targamadze, Chair of the Defense and 
Security Committee, and Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili 
both denounced the move as further evidence Russia is 
attacking Georgia's sovereignty.  UNOMIG told Poloff on July 
3 that the rumor originated with the de facto Abkhaz press 
secretary on July 2.  De facto president Sergey Shamba later 
reportedly said publicly the plan was "unfortunately" not 
true.  He went on to say the Abkhaz would welcome a 
diplomatic mission in Sukhumi and negotiations for one 
continue.  However, Shamba said there were no imminent plans 
for such a mission. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
5. (C) These latest attacks mark the fourth set of explosions 
in Georgia's separatist regions in five days, at a time when 
five nations' presidents were in Batumi for the GUAM 
conference.  To date, the Georgian population seems somewhat 
inured to the situation.  As explosions are not all that 
uncommon in the separatist regions, only the increased 
 
TBILISI 00001161  002 OF 002 
 
 
frequency of them is notable. 
TEFFT

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