TV presenter assassinated in Caucasus

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A STATE television presenter in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus was shot dead late on Wednesday in a targeted attack.

Kazbek Gekkiyev, 28, who worked for a local channel of Russian state broadcaster VGTRK, was killed in Nalchik, capital of the internal republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, a spokesman for Russia’s federal investigative committee said.

Mr Gekkiyev was not known for reporting on crime or the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus. Indeed Kabardino-Balkaria has seen much less Islamist unrest than other areas, such as Dagestan, sources said.

A woman identified as a witness by another state channel said two people had got out of a car and asked Mr Gekkiyev, “Are you TV presenter Kazbek Gekkiyev?” before the shots were fired.

President Vladimir Putin urged security forces to find those responsible for the killing, being seen by federal investigators as a warning to journalists reporting on the insurgency.

“All people must be protected … and I am sure that our law enforcement bodies will do everything so that the criminals will be revealed and punished,” Mr Putin said in Sochi, a few hundred miles from Nalchik.