A Russian broadcast journalist was shot and killed late Wednesday in the country’s North Caucasus region, with investigators saying Thursday that his death was likely due to his profession.
Kazbek Gekkiyev, who worked with the state-run Vesti KBR, was shot late in the evening in Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, state-owned RIA Novosti reported.
“Are you the host Kazbek Gekkiyev?” the killers asked him, according to The Moscow Times. “Yes,” Gekkiyev replied, prompting the men to shoot him. Investigators said the question led them to believe he was killed in relation to his job.
Gekkiyev, however, did not cover anything related to the region’s restive political situation or “acute, criminal topics,” the Times reported, citing Vesti KBR.
“This audacious crime can be seen as a threat to other journalists who cover operations against insurgents acting on the republic’s territory,” the Russian Investigative Committee said.
According to Radio Free Europe, colleagues of Gekkiyev have said that “extremists” operating in the region threatened two other journalists who worked for Vesti. Islamist militants operating in the Russian North Caucasus frequently carry out terrorist attacks against government officials, security forces, and others.
Unknown assailants also went after Vladislav Dyachenko, the deputy transportation minister in the region, by blowing up his car when he was on his way to work. He was slightly wounded, reported Al-Jazeera.
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