Alexander Ankvab, president of Abkhazia, survives attack on convoy


Alexander Ankvab, de facto president of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, has survived an assassination attempt in which two of his guards died and one suffered severe injuries.

A landmine exploded as Ankvab’s convoy travelled to the rebel region’s main city of Sukhumi on Wednesday, with unidentified gunmen subsequently opening fire with machine-guns and grenade-launchers, the BBC reported.

One car was completely destroyed. Ankvab later told the Associated Press in a telephone interview from Sukhumi that two of his bodyguards had died in the attack and a third had been seriously wounded.

“My car was badly damaged, but I’m feeling okay,” Ankvab said. The attack is said to be the sixth attempt on the president’s life in recent years. A grenade strike on his jeep in July 2007 left him with several shrapnel wounds in his back.

Abkhaz security sources said that an investigation into the attack is underway, according to the Agence France Presse.

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Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in 1993 and declared independence six years later. Apart from Russia and handful of other states, the rest of the world continues to regard it as part of Georgian territory.

An uneasy peace has held between Georgia and Russia since war broke out in 2008 and Georgian troops were forced back from Abkhazia and another breakaway region, South Ossetia.

Ankvab was elected leader of Abkhazia last year after the death of Sergei Bagapsh, who had been president since 2005.

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