Georgians hunt for kidnapped leader

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(First Edition)

MOSCOW (AFP) - More than 1,000 members of the Georgian security forces were sent to north-west Georgia yesterday to search for Alexander Kavsadze, the deputy prime minister, following his kidnapping on Thursday, Interfax news agency said. Mr Kavsadze and two other people are believed to have been kidnapped by supporters of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the Georgian president who was deposed in January.

Georgia's ruling State Council yesterday refused to bow to demands by Mr Gamsakhurdia's supporters. In a statement, the State Council said it would not conduct negotiations for the release of the so-called 'Zviadists' who attempted to take over the television centre in Tbilisi on 24 June. In exchange, the abductors had promised to let Mr Kavsadze go free. Tengiz Sigua, the acting prime minister, said no one had so far claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.