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SR's Russia correspondent injured in Northern Caucasus attack

Published onsdag 9 mars kl 19.07
"An attack on journalists always is very serious"
(3:58 min)
Swedish Radio's correspondent in Moscow, Maria Persson Löfgren.
Swedish Radio's correspondent in Moscow, Maria Persson Löfgren. Credit: Mattias Ahlm/Sveriges Radio

Maria Persson Löfgren, Swedish Radio's correspondent in Russia, was mildly injured today in an attack in Ingushetia, but is now safe.

"Under the circumstances, she is doing pretty well," Olle Zachrison, the head of news at Swedish Radio News (Ekot), told Radio Sweden, adding, "we're very relieved that she is in safety after this very unsettling attack."

Swedish Radio News reports that Persson Löfgren was on assignment when the vehicle she was in was attacked by some 20 or 30 armed and masked men, according to eye witnesses.

Persson Löfgren was traveling with other journalists, as well as representatives for what is considered to be a human rights organization. The other three journalists came from Norway and Russia.

One of the Russian reporters, who works for Media Zone, tweeted about the attack, and described how the four journalists' vehicle had been followed by another vehicle since earlier in the day.

About fifty kilometers from Grozny, on the main road towards Baku, she and others in the vehicle were robbed and assaulted, and then the car was set afire.

Ginna Lindberg, the head of foreign news at Swedish Radio, spoke to Maria Persson Löfgren this evening, who told her that they were on the way to Chechnya, when their vehicle was forced off the road by some 30 young men, screaming that the journalists were not journalists, but terrorists.

The identities are of the masked men who attacked the vehicle are not known.

The area is known for robberies and attacks, according to Swedish Radio News, and the situation in the northern Caucasus has been plagued for the last two decades, by pure criminal activity but also political persecution.

The Russian correspondent for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Anna-Lena Lauren, told Swedish Radio News that what happened this afternoon could have been a tactic for attempting to scare journalists away from working in the area.

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