Tuesday, April 03, 2007

TV reports gunmen wound mayor of Armenia's 2nd largest city, kill deputy, 2 bodyguards

April 2, 2007
Source: The Associated Press

YEREVAN, Armenia: Gunmen wounded the mayor of Armenia's second largest city in a bold highway attack that also killed his deputy, his driver and two bodyguards Monday, a police official said.

The attack occured around 10 p.m. (2000 GMT) between the capital, Yerevan, and Gyumri, a city of 150,000 located about 126 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital, Armenian police spokesman Sayap Shirinian said.

Vardan Gukasian, who was returning home after a party conference in Yerevan, was hospitalized in serious but stable condition after the attack on his two-car convoy, Shirininan said. Gukasian's driver and two bodyguards were killed and a deputy mayor died later from his wounds. Another bodyguard was hospitalized in serious condition, the spokesman said.

Politics are tense and occasionally violent in Armenia, a small, impoverished ex-Soviet republic located in the strategic Caucasus region.

In 1999, gunmen burst into parliament and killed the prime minister, parliament speaker and six other officials and lawmakers. In 2005, the mayor of a small town was arrested after he was accused of shooting and killing the head of the local electric utility. The mayor was later re-elected despite being jailed.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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