Bank robbery in west Georgia being investigated as act of terrorism
The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs is investigating the hold up of a Bank of Georgia branch in Zugdidi as a terrorist attack.
Vladimir Bortsvade, an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, announced this at a briefing of the police force in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti.
According to Bortsvadze, the investigation will be conducted in accordance with articles 236, 323, and 329 of the Georgian Criminal Code, which include terrorist activities, hostage-taking for the purposes of terrorism, and the unlawful acquisition, storage, or carrying of a firearm.
Bortsvadze also confirmed at the briefing that Badri Esebua, born in 1988, had committed the crime, information that was already known to the public.
He is a former soldier of the armed forces of Georgia.
According to Bortsvadze, a manhunt will be undertaken to find and detain Esebua.
During the day on 21 October, an armed individual took 43 people hostage for more than eight hours at a Bank of Georgia branch in the center of Zugdidi. The perpetrator demanded half a million dollars and a guarantee of his safe release.
At around 10:00 in the evening, he received the money and released all of the hostages except three, one of whom was the chief of the local police force.
The criminal and the three hostages then left the bank, fleeing in an unknown direction. Later he released the remaining hostages and went into hiding.