As the two sides braced for confrontation near Poti, on the Black Sea, the Georgian leader, Eduard Shevardnadze, issued a strong warning to the rebels, urging them to surrender or face 'grave consequences'. At least two people died when the rebels seized the towns of Senaki, Apasha and Khobi in western Mingrelia at the weekend.
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Georgia massed its troops to stop new advances by armed supporters of the ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia a day after they seized three western towns, Reuter reports from Tbilisi.