September 9, 2008 / 5:51 PM / 11 years ago

South Ossetia says finds 500 of 1,600 civilian dead

MOSCOW, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Authorities in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia said on Tuesday they had located the remains of 500 of the 1,600 people they say died during Georgia’s Aug. 7/8 bombardment and invasion.

"Preliminary information received by the investigation team by questioning neighbours and relatives showed that over 1,600 people died in South Ossetia as a result of the invasion by the Georgian army," South Ossetia’s Prosecutor-General, Taimuraz Khugayev, told Interfax news agency.

"From those, at this time, investigators have found the circumstances of death and burial places of 500 people."

Georgia said it launched the invasion to protect its villages from the South Ossetians. Russia supports the rebels and launched a major counter attack forcing the Georgian army to retreat.

Khugayev did not explain why investigators had not discovered all the estimated 1,600 civilian dead.

Several hundred Georgian troops were killed in the fighting. (Writing by James Kilner; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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