Boney M peace bid

Georgia hired a member of 70s pop group Boney M in its fight for control of breakaway South Ossetia.

Marcia Barrett played a concert in a small frontline village not far from the rebel capital Tskhinvali.

Thousands came in cars, buses, trucks and on foot through a mountain pass skirting separatist territory to hear her sing.

The rebels have close ties with Russia and are trying to secede from Georgia.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told the BBC he hoped the music would persuade people to lay down their arms.

“We hope that we’ll lure out people from their trenches, force them to drop [their] Kalashnikovs, come here and dance with the others and understand that nothing is as nice as peace, nothing is as nice as reconciliation,” Mr Saakashvili said.

“This place was only famous for killings, violence, crime past and present. And now it’s like adding some new thing, it’s looking much more colourful, much less violent, just normal, and being normal is such a novelty here,” he added.

Ms Barrett said she did not know much about the situation but wanted to promote peace.

“Because it’s a peace festival I really feel honoured to be invited to come and take part,” she told the BBC.

The concert took place in Tamarasheni, a village of around 500 people in the middle of the conflict which witnesses regular gun battles despite a ceasefire.

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