Germans 'kidnapped' in chaotic Georgia
German authorities fear two German citizens have been kidnapped in Georgia, according to a report in Spiegel Online.
As Chancellor Angela Merkel follows the diplomatic trail to Tbilisi, officials are trying to check reports from Georgian police that two Germans have been kidnapped in Gori, in the north of the country.
The suggestions are that the people, named as Levan and Lika D., were kidnapped by South Ossetian militia during the chaos and anarchy in the city, just a few kilometres from the South Ossetia region.
Local authorities told the German embassy in Tbilisi of the suspected kidnap on Wednesday, since when officials have been trying to establish what has happened.
The German foreign office confirmed this, a spokesman telling Spiegel Online, “We are checking the information as a top priority.”
This will prove difficult as Russian forces are still in control of Gori, despite a ceasefire, and are strictly limiting access to the city.
Further details will not be released, as is usual in such cases.
The kidnap of German citizens in the region would complicate German involvement in attempts to end the fighting and find a solution between Georgia and Russia over the two disputed regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Merkel met Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on Friday and is due to see Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in the next few days, following US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s visit.