Reuters photojournalist Adlan Khasanov, 33, was killed during a bomb attack on Victory Day celebrations in Grozny, Chechnya, on Sunday May 9 that also killed Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, 52, and others seated in his VIP box during the annual parade event. After conflicting reports of the death toll, Russian news agencies said seven people, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed and more than 50 people were injured.
Khasanov was both a television and still photojournalist for Reuters and had worked for them since the late 1990's mostly in his native Chechnya, the news agency reported. Reuters said Khasanov covered the war in Chechnya in 1999 and sometimes had to walk for days through the mountains to neighboring Soviet Georgia to deliver his footage.
The annual Victory Day parade commemorates Moscow's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. Khasanov was covering the event, Reuters said, when a bomb blast ripped through the podium. Photographs showed Khasanov being carried from the scene of the explosion and being treated by paramedics for extensive head wounds.
President Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader who Moscow hoped would crush the bloody separatist rebellion, had survived multiple assassination attempts before today. Chechnya's deputy interior minister Khamid Kadayev says the blast was the result of a "well-planned terrorist act prepared over a long period of time, not just a few days," Reuters reported.
The stadium has been undergoing remodeling and reconstruction over the past three months. Kadayev told Reuters that a bomb was placed inside a concrete part of the structure, apparently some time ago, and that's how it escaped security detection sweeps. Reports from the scene say the blast may have come from a land mine. Shortly after the blast an artillery shell rigged to explode was also found in the reviewing stand, and then later a third explosive device, set with a timer to go off one-half hour after the first blast, was also discovered.
Reuters said that Adlan Khasanov is survived by three brothers and three sisters, and that one of his brothers told Reuters in Moscow by phone that his body had been brought from a hospital to the Khasanov family home and that he would be buried in Grozny on Monday May 10.
"We are shocked and dismayed at the news of Adlan's death. He was a fine journalist working with dedication and great courage in often dangerous conditions. He was also a delightful man. Adlan will be greatly missed by his colleagues," Reuters editor-in-chief Geert Linnebank said in a company statement.