The mercenaries and militias then expel civilians, looting property and burning villages so that the displaced have less incentive to return, “doing the dirty work” while official troops do nothing to intervene
“I don’t think I will be able to go back to my village. It’s in the area the Ossetians want to keep. I’m terrified. I’m a farmer. I have no clue how I can make a good life for me and my family in the city,”
“This is not looting, this is trophies,”
South Ossetian militiamen have torched houses, beaten elderly people and even murdered civilians in the lawless buffer zone set up by the Russian Army just north of Gori.
A serious curfew kicked in at sundown, and the streets turned instantly lethal, not least because the tanks allowed in marauding irregulars — Cossacks, South Ossetians, Chechens and the like — to do the looting in a town that the Russians had effectively emptied.