Russia regional TV chief killed

21/03/2008 - 19:26

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A well-known broadcaster and TV chief from Russia's restive North Caucasus was shot dead on Friday when unidentified gunmen opened fire on his car, Russian agencies reported on Friday.

Gadzhi Abashilov, aged 58, was the chairman of the DagestanState Television and Radio Broadcasting Company and a formerjournalist who had presented his own television programme untilhe took up his current post a year ago, Tass reported.

Abashilov died at the scene and his driver was injuredafter the assailants fired on his car outside a supermarket inthe regional capital of Makhachkala, Tass news agency reported.

No other details into the killing were immediatelyavailable.

The Russian Prosecutor General's office said federalinvestigators would takeover the probe, Interfax reported.

Violence from neighbouring Chechnya, where Moscow hasfought two wars against insurgents since the nineties, hasspilled over into Dagestan and other regions of the NorthCaucasus, with frequent shoot-outs between the security forcesand separatists.

Abashilov's killing comes hours after the body of anothertelevision journalist, originally from Dagestan, was discoveredin Moscow after he was strangled in his apartment.

More than a dozen journalists have been slain incontract-style killings in Russia since 2000. Many journalistsappear to have been targeted for beatings and killings becauseof their attempts to investigate allegations of corruption.

(Reporting by Conor Sweeney; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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