Gadzhi Abashilov

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Abashilov, 58, head of the state radio and television company Dagestan, was shot and killed at around 8 p.m. local time, in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala. At least one unknown gunman fired at least 20 shots at Abashilov as he was sitting in his car near a grocery store downtown, according to local news reports. The shooting involved an AK-47, the news agency Itar-Tass said. Abashilov’s driver was wounded. Assailants fled the scene immediately after the shooting, the news agency RIA Novosti reported.

According to the government-run Moscow daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika said he would directly supervise the investigation, signifying that the case would be given priority. Boris Salmaksov, deputy head of the investigative committee of the prosecutor general’s office, said in a July interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta that three men had been arrested and charged with Abashilov’s murder. Salmaksov did not name the suspects, saying that identifying them would alert the masterminds. Salmaksov said Abashilov was murdered for his work as head of the television company but did not elaborate.

In a September meeting with the heads of local law enforcement agencies, Dagestan’s president, Mukhu Aliyev, said he was dissatisfied with the investigation, according to local press reports. Aliyev chastised investigators for what he saw as sloppy work, and he disputed reports of progress, RIA Novosti said. Aliyev said that the motives for Abashilov’s murder were unknown, despite the prosecutor’s statements. Aliyev claimed the prosecution’s evidence was based on a single witness, the independent regional news Web site Kavkazsky Uzel reported.