President of breakaway Georgian province attacked

Associated Press
FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 file photo, Alexander Ankvab, president of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia, smiles during a news conference in the provincial capital of Sukhumi. Ankvab survived an assassination attempt by unidentified bandits while driving from Sukhum to Gudauta Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)
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FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 file photo, Alexander Ankvab, president of Georgia's breakaway …

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — The president of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia on Wednesday survived an assassination attempt unhurt, but two of his bodyguards have died, officials said.

Alexander Ankvab's convoy came under attack on a road between Gudauta and the province's capital of Sukhumi when unidentified assailants detonated a land mine and then sprayed the vehicles with automatic gunfire and fired rocket-propelled grenades.

Ankvab told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Sukhumi that two of his bodyguards had died of wounds and a third one had been wounded.

"My car was badly damaged, but I'm feeling OK," Ankvab said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack that comes as Abkhazia is set to hold parliamentary elections next month. Ankvab wouldn't discuss possible reasons behind the attack.

Abkhazia, a lush Black Sea province, broke away from Georgia in a war in the early 1990s. Russia recognized Abkhazia and another separatist province, South Ossetia, as independent states after the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war, and has kept its troops in both regions.

Ankvab, who was elected in August, had survived several earlier assassination attempts, including the one in September that left him wounded.

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