Deputy Defense Minister Colonel Vahram Horkhoruni was killed during the night of December 9-10 on the threshold of his apartment in central Yerevan (see also the Monitor, December 10). The attack bore the hallmarks of a contract killing: Of the seven shots fired in the dark, five hit Horkhoruni, three of them in the head. Horkhoruni is said to have been in charge of ordnance procurement for the military–an assignment which prompts local observers to suspect shadowy business interests behind the murder. A deputy minister since 1997, Horkhoruni had earlier held a senior post in the Internal Affairs Ministry under Vano Siradeghian.
Armenia has in recent years witnessed a series of high-profile murders linked to the shadow economy or political intrigue, and which remain unresolved to date. Senior officials killed between 1993 and 1998 include: State Security Committee chief, Major-General Marius Iuzbashian, Armenia Railroads Director-General Hambartsum Kandilian, Chamber of Trade President Ashot Sarkisian, Yerevan Mayor Hambartsum Galstian, and (in May 1998) Prosecutor-General Henrik Khachatrian (Noyan-Tapan, AP, Reuters, December 10).
EAST CASPIAN OIL AND GAS MAY FLOW INTO BAKU-CEYHAN.