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Russian Police Say Deaths of Two Journalists Not Linked


Russian authorities say the deaths of two journalists from the province of Dagestan are not connected.

The Russian television journalists were both killed Friday in separate incidents, one in Moscow and another in the southern region of Dagestan.

Russia's state-run news agency reports that assailants gunned down the director of Dagestan's state radio and television, Gadzhi Abashilov, in the regional capital Makhachkala Friday evening. The report describes Abashilov as a local celebrity.

The chief investigator in the case told the news agency that authorities are considering several motives for the murder, including dislike of Abashilov's professional activity.

Earlier Friday, firefighters found the body of Moscow-based television reporter Ilyas Shurpayev when they put out a fire in his apartment. His body was found with knife wounds and a belt around his neck.

Shurpayev worked for the national television, which serves as a Kremlin mouthpiece. He moved to Moscow from the mostly Muslim Dagestan province and had reported extensively from Russia's violence-ridden North Caucasus region and neighboring areas of Georgia.

Abashilov headed Dagestan's branch of a Russian state-controlled broadcasting network.

Many Russian journalists appear to have been attacked in recent years because of their attempts to investigate allegations of official corruption.

Dagestan is adjacent to Chechnya in the restive North Caucasus where Islamic and ethnic separatists have battled Russian authorities for almost two decades.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.