A high-ranking security official was shot dead by unidentified gunman in Russia's Ingushetia republic Tuesday, marking the latest bloodshed in an area that continues to suffer from an Islamist insurgency.
Security chief Ahmed Kotiev and his driver were killed around 7:30 a.m. local time when his car was assaulted near Nizhniye Achaluki village, reports claim.
"All possible theories are being looked at but priority is being given to his professional activities," the Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement.
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, head of the southern Russian republic, condemned the attack and told Russian media that Kotiev had "very successfully" been in talks with insurgents.
"He always spoke his mind and was not scared of openly talking to relatives of the underground members, calling on the bandits to put down their arms and return to a normal life," Yevkurov added.
The murder comes amid security concerns for Russia's fast approaching 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. President Vladimir Putin has begun a large security operation in the surrounding areas, but the North Caucasus remain a violent place.
In July, the Islamist rebel Doku Umarov called on his fellow militants to attack Russian targets, including the Olympics.