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article imageMan 'blows himself up' at TV centre in Georgian breakaway region

By AFP     Oct 17, 2016 in World

An unidentified man on Monday blew himself up at the state-owned TV centre in Abkhazia, a tiny Russian-backed breakaway region of Georgia, local officials said.

"A man blew himself up on the territory of the TV centre. It was obviously clear that he had a bomb," Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted Abkhaz interior minister Aslan Kobakhiya as saying.

Interfax news wire reported that the blast occurred at the entrance to the TV station's headquarters in the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi.

It cited the separatist region's emergency services ministry as saying the "corpse of a bearded man" was found at the scene.

Investigators were probing the incident and the Abkhaz president Raul Khajimba insisted that it was "too early to talk about an attempted terrorist attack".

"Let's wait for the results of the investigation. We have not even managed to identify the man who blew himself up," Khajimba, a former officer in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency, told Interfax.

As a precautionary measure Khajimba ordered security around public places, including schools and kindergartens, in the Black Sea region of some 250,000 people to be stepped up.

Abkhazia has claimed independence from Georgia since an armed conflict in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia recognised the region as independent following a brief conflict with Georgia in 2008 over another breakaway region, South Ossetia, and has thousands of troops stationed there.

Georgia insists that the two regions are under de facto Russian occupation.

Abkhazia has seen a protracted political standoff between the region's self-declared authorities and its opposition since former leader Alexander Ankvab was ousted in 2014.

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