A group of masked strangers on Wednesday launched a brutal attack on a minibus transporting journalists and human rights activists from Moscow, Sweden and Norway near the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia in Russia's North Caucasus, the RBC news agency reported.
As the minibus crossed the border and entered Chechnya, it was clipped and forced to stop by several cars. More than ten masked men armed with sticks got out of the cars and ran up to the minibus.
"They started beating our car, shouting 'Come out you terrorists!' Then they pulled our minibus off to the side of the road and continued beating it," MediaZone news website reporter Egor Skovoroda was quoted as saying by RBC. "In the end, they burned our car and drove away."
The attackers yelled “You are defending terrorists!” while beating the journalists, Skovoroda added.
Nearly all passengers of the minibus, including The New Times journalist and activists from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, were injured, and a number of their personal possessions were burnt.
The injured were sent to the Sunzha central district hospital, according to a tweet by MediaZone's Pyotr Verzilov.
Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that he was not aware of the incident.
An investigative group is working on the site of the accident, and police are searching for those responsible, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified source within Ingushetia law enforcement.
Correction: The previous version of this article incorrectly claimed that The New York Times journalists were involved in the accident. Instead, journalists of The New Times, a Russian news outlet, were involved in the accident.