Head of Russia Daghestan TV killed

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Moscow, Mar 22 (UNI) Gadzhi Abashilov, the head of state TV and Radio company of Russia's republic of Daghestan, in North Caucasus, has been killed in the republic's capital Makhachkala.

Abashilov was shot dead yesterday in central Makhachkala after unidentified gunmen opened fire at his car as he was returning home from work. He died on the spot and his driver was hospitalised with gunshot wounds, Russian media reported today quoting regional police.

Russia's Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said he would take ''personal'' charge of the murder case, adding the investigation will be carried out by a federal operational group.

Abashilov, 58, a former editor-in-chief of Molodezh Dagestana and the republic's deputy minister for information, national policy and foreign relations, took over as head of the Dagestan's State Television and Radio broadcasting company two years ago.

Former head of the company, Taygyb Abdusamadov, was shot and seriously wounded in June 2004. Investigators said the assassination attempt was linked to his professional duties.

The murder follows the death of another journalist from Dagestan -- Ilyas Shurpayev -- who was found strangled in his apartment here yesterday.

Earlier, a Dagestani new agency reported a major conflict between journalists and management at a local popular newspaper.

The journalists said they were being forced to produce negative reports about Dagestan's government and president, Itar-Tass reported.

There was also a black list of people, who were barred from appearing in the paper. Both Abashilov and Shurpayev were on the list, it added.

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