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Latest update : 2008-08-19

South Ossetia's ethnically Georgian villages are emptying as residents flee attacks and looters. Only those who can’t - or won’t - leave remain. FRANCE 24 correspondent Romain Goguelin reports from South Ossetia.


The Georgian inhabitants of the South Ossetian village of Kekhvi have fled. Houses are heavily damaged, and for the most part, looted.


Kekhvi is an ethnically Georgian village, located completely within the rebel breakaway province of South Ossetia and nine kilometres north of its capital Tskhinvali.


On August 7 massive Russian forces entered South Ossetia in response to a Georgian offensive against the Moscow-backed separatists there.


Russia and South Ossetian militia now have control of the province. The only Georgians left in such villages are those desperately trying to hang on, or too old or sick to leave.


86-year old Evgenia Roskashvili refused to flee with her children, saying, “I want to die here”.


Amidst hostile looters and militiamen, the Russian peacemakers cannot ensure their security, but are distributing basic food and drink.


A South Ossetian militiaman doesn't hide his animosity, saying,  “not a single Georgian will, or should live (here)”.


Those ethnic Georgians still able to are eventually leaving their homes and belongings. According to Vano, "looters come all the time (and) take whatever they want".


Another, Otar, has lost everything in the violence. He is also leaving, luggageless, on the bus to Georgia.


Watch this exclusive reportage by FRANCE 24 correspondent Romain Goguelin by clicking on ‘play’ above.

Date created : 2008-08-19