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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TV Tsentr Journalist Killed In Bombing of Chechnya




A television reporter in Chechnya was killed by gunfire as he recorded a bombing raid with a video camera, a human rights group reported this week.


Ramzan Mezhidov, 32, worked as a freelance video cameraman for TV Tsentr. He is the second journalist to die in recent fighting.


He died after an Oct. 29 bomb raid on a column of cars heading out of the war zone.


The Glasnost Defense Fund, a human rights group, reported details of his death Thursday, and TV Tsentr employees confirmed the account.


Mezhidov was leaving Grozny, the besieged capital of Chechnya, with videotapes for his employer.


He was traveling in cars which carried only civilians, according to Andrei Pavlov, head of regional coverage at TV Tsentr.


Mezhidov jumped out of his car when a Russian jet began dropping bombs on the highway, according to Pavlov, who said he heard an account from witnesses.


Mezhidov ran off the road and began recording the attack with a shoulder-held camera.


According to witnesses, the jet returned and fired its machine guns at Mezhidov.


"In the words of people who were nearby, the pilot might have thought he was holding a Stinger [anti-aircraft missile]," Pavlov said.


Rebels are known to have U.S.-made Stingers or other anti-aircraft missiles, which are fired from the shoulder.


The Glasnost Defense Fund said in a press release that the pilot might have targeted Mezhidov after seeing he held a camera and had recorded the attack.


Bystanders brought Mezhidov to a village hospital, where he died, according to Pavlov.


His camera was not hit and the station is expecting to receive Mezhidov's last tape soon, according to Pavlov.


He said the military has not explained the incident to the station. Mezhidov had worked for TV Tsentr for a year before his death.