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Creeping Occupation, False Alarm or Modeled Provocation?!

04.10.2010

Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori

On the night of September 29th, the population of villages (Zemo and Kvemo Niqozi (Upper and Lower Niqozi), Zemo and Kvemo Khviti (Upper and Lower Khviti) belonging to the community of the village Niqozi, Gori Region, started panicking. According to the information spread by the national televisions, Russian armed forced transferred in Zemo and Kvemo Niqozi and occupied 25 hectare territory. This information is confirmed only by one lady in the whole community who names the policemen as the source of the information.

Niqozi residents state that the witness of the September 29th border transfer is exactly the lady indicated on the photo. She confirmed to the village population that personally saw four people dressed as civilians who were conducting certain measurements in the gardens of the villages. But, when we personally asked her whether or not she witnessed the fact, she said that she was not the witness and received information from the police.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs spread information with conflicting contents on September 29th. At 18:00 p.m. it was assuring that the occupation of additional places was taking place, and at 21 p.m. the list of the villages which were allegedly marked with the pillars completely disappeared.

For example, the initial version of the information:

“On September 29th, 2010, the Russian occupation forces started occupying the additional territory of Shida Kartli advancing the occupation front. The units of Federal Security Service of Russia are conducting the “demarcation of the border” (sticking the armature pillars) in the following villages: Kvemo Niqozi, Zemo Niqozi, Ditsi, Arbo and Qordi. By this time, 25 hectare agricultural land has been seized in the village of Kvemo Niqozi. In the village Ditsi, houses of three families (Beruashvilis), the half of the orchard of one of the families, the pastures, irrigation cannel and newly built water boring well fell inside the illegally marked territory. In the village Arbo, Russian occupants occupied 5 hectare of the agricultural land belonging to the population, as for the village Qordi – the half hectare of agricultural land. Currently, the illegal “demarcation” is taking in the village of Zemo Niqozi as well.”

In several hours, this information disappeared from the Ministry’s website and a new text appeared:

“On September 29th of 2010, the officials of Federal Security Service of Russia started conducting the “illegal demarcation” in Shida Kartli. This act of occupants obviously bears provocative nature and further limits the free movement of Georgian citizens. It should be noted that the illegal “demarcation of border” will significantly hinder the water supply of the surrounding territories, especially the village Ditsi.”

On the same night, Human Rights Center contacted Tamar Mchedlidze, the resident of Zemo Niqozi, who already had been contacted by her children from Tbilisi concerning the reportage covered by Rustavi 2.

“Honestly, we were more frightened with these calls. For the whole day long, my husband and I didn’t notice anything. We live in such a zone, that it’s unimaginable not to know something. As for the territories, there are three houses at the end of the village. Nobody lives there. People are scared. It’s situated right on the border,” – stated Mchedlidzes.

Giorgi Devidze, procurator of Zemo and Qvemo Niqozi stated that he received this information after hearing 18:00 news: “Right when I heard the information, I rushed to the place where I could see it. But I noticed nothing,” – stated Giorgi Devidze.

On September 29th, the governor of Shida Kartli Zurab Arsoshvili and Ukraine ambassador were in the village Niqozi. They inspected the public school of Niqozi but made no comment on the newly occupied territories.
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