Calls mount for Abkhaz “interior minister” Dmitri Dbar to resign after a controversial shooting incident in downtown Sokhumi late on September 30, the day when the occupied region has celebrated 28 years after expelling central Georgian government forces from Abkhazia.
According to local media sources, the incident taking place amid celebrations on Sokhumi beachfront area involved Abkhaz lawmaker Garri Kokaia and war veterans from Adzyubzha village of Ochamchire district, on one hand, and top police officials, including Dmitri Dbar, on the other.
The Abkhaz ‘interior ministry’ said the next day that Kokaia fired five shots in the air from his own “Glock” pistol in presence of passers-by and “showed obvious aggression” towards police officers. The ‘ministry’ claimed the lawmaker ignored police demands to give up the firearm and left the scene “as a result of sudden conflict” with officers.
However, in a collective letter addressed at top Abkhaz officials, residents and war veterans from Adzyubzha village expressed “extreme outrage” over “lawlessness” and “criminal actions” on part of Dbar and other ‘ministry’ representatives towards their “brothers, fellow villagers, war veterans” and an MP [Kokaia] elected from their constituency.
The letter reportedly demanded ousting Dbar and his subordinates, opening a criminal case into the incident and immediately arresting them “for their own safety.”
In an extraordinary parliament session called later on October 1 involving 19 Abkhaz lawmakers, the resolution demanding suspension of Dbar and his companions for the duration of investigations failed to get enough votes to be adopted.
In the meantime, scores of people, including Adzyubzha residents, gathered outside the occupied region’s legislature but dispersed after lawmakers and veterans reportedly called them to wait till Monday, October 4.
A further incident was reported at around midnight of September 30-October 1, with Almaskhan Ardzinba, another Abkhaz lawmaker, suspected of firing 20 shots in the air from an illegally stored firearm while yelling “offensive words” at the building of the interior ministry prior to taking off.
The prosecution authorities of the occupied region are running “pre-investigation checks” into both incidents.