Bloodshed two days ahead of the local elections in Kvemo-Kartli
On 18 October, the Georgian Dream headquarters in the village of Kiziladzhlo in Marneuli municipality was attacked by assailants carrying firearms. Five people have been injured, with two being in a critical condition in Ger Hospital in Marneuli.
An investigation is being conducted by the Interior Ministry which has declined commenting. The attackers are being charged with aggravated assault and causing bodily harm.
Relatives of the victims say they know nothing of the attackers or their motives.
The crime scene was visited yesterday by the Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili and Archil Talakvadze, MP. Georgian Dream activists gathered at the Ger Hospital, with police also being present.
Mr Mgebrishvili warned against drawing premature conclusions and politicizing the issue. But the shooting which happened two days ahead of the elections has already sparked political statements.
Opposition activists in Marneuli claim it was a conflict between political opponents. Akhmed Imamkuliev, a candidate from the opposition European Georgia party in Marneuli says the showdown took place among the same party members.
“Initially Amiran Giorgadze was nominated as the candidate from the Georgian Dream Party, but a month later he was replaced by Temur Abazov. The Georgian Dream Party in Marneuli has three factions – the Giorgadze supporters, the Abazov supporters and the deputies who have already discredited themselves. The new candidate, as we heard, was cited as the reason for the conflict involving the three groups. Tough confrontation has become common in the Georgian Dream Party headquarters,” Imamkuliev said.
Azer Suleimanov, the candidate from the National Movement which is another opposition party, agrees:
“Marneuli has returned back to the criminal 1990s reminiscent of the current day Afghanistan. Though I do not have verified information, the incident does not look political.”
83 Percent of the population in Marneuli in the Kvemo-Kartli region are ethnic Azeris with Georgian citizenship.