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Armenian President Prods Police On Shootings

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian decorates a senior police official on April 16.
YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has told the police that they must "drastically" improve their response to reports of shootings linked to political figures close to the president and relatives of government officials because "our public is legitimately concerned."

One man died and another was seriously injured in an April 1 shooting in Yerevan, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. Both men were running on Sarkisian's Republican Party ticket in May's municipal elections.

Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian's son and a nephew are also suspected of setting fire to two cars and shooting up a businessman's house in the central city of Artashat on April 4.

Abrahamian says his son was not involved. The police have arrested five suspects in the case, but refuse to reveal their identities.

Police chief Alik Sargsian told hundreds of police officers on April 16 that their work is "transparent" and thanks to them "illegality is punished."