Tourist robbed and killed in Abkhazia, Police reform demanded
A manhunt is currently underway in Abkhazia after two armed men attacked Russian tourists on a beach in the Gudauta district.
A sum of USD 15 000 has been offered as a reward for any information regarding the two criminals who are responsible for the death of one of the Russian tourists, the Abkhazian Interior Ministry press service reports.
On 11 July at 12.20 pm two unidentified masked men, armed with firearms and a knife, attacked a group of tourists from Moscow.
The Kabanovan and Chizhikov families along with their children were sunbathing when they were attacked. Andrey Kabanov, one of the adult men, tried to resist the attackers and was heavily wounded after being stabbed in the chest with a knife.
The attackers escaped after holding up the two women and four kids.
The territory from Gudauta to Novy Afon has been blocked off and searched by police until evening.
The criminals escaped, but police actions forced them to let the women and children free. There was no happy end though.
Andrey Kabanov died at the Gudauta hospital yesterday.
The daring crime also caused public outburst in social media.
Anton Klimenyuk, a popular journalist, said the police leadership should resign, and that President Raul Khadjimba should declare a state of emergency.
Abkhazia has witnessed a sharp rise in crime recently. Thefts, which have always been a problem for in the tourism sector, are now being accompanied by murders.
The day before the murder in Primorskoe occurred, a large drugstore had been robbed, with a security guard heavily wounded. None of the earlier robberies has been solved.
Experts believe the rise in crime has delivered the final blow to tourism, which is essential for Abkhazia’s budget.
Authorities were already worried by the diminishing tourist flow. Sixty traffic officers were fired a month ago by president Khadjimba for protesting a ban on stopping Russian tourists’ cars.
The president addressed the Interior Ministry board and said, choosing no words, that the corrupt traffic officers are well known among Russian tourists, and some have become YouTube heroes.
S ome experts emphasize the political aspect in the sudden rise in crime.
A Joint Abkhazian-Russian Centre for Information and Coordination is soon to be opened in Sukhum. The 400 employees were expected to have broad powers duplicating those of the local police.
The plan caused strong and almost universal opposition among the political elite. As a result, the powers were diminished and the number of employees cut to 20.
Experts believe that the authorities, unable to address the present rise in crime, will have to give broader powers and agree to more employees for the new organization, thus making the Russian law enforcement influence in Abkhazia stronger. Even the local criminal leaders (more than a dozen) expressed their indignation at the act of unprovoked violence and claimed to have no information about the criminals.
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