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Armenia: Minister `attacked workers´ over power cut

Armenia’s culture minister attacked and pistol-whipped two utility workers today after electricity was cut off to his flat, police said.

Police were investigating Ovik Oveyan, but no arrests had been made as of this evening, police spokesman Sayat Shirinyan said.

According to a prosecuting official, Mr Oveyan called officials at the Armenian Electric Network sometime before noon when a problem with an electric cable shut off power to his apartment. The official asked to remain unnamed since he was not authorised to speak to the media.

After arguing with an official, Mr Oveyan, his son and several friends drove to the network’s offices and with a pistol attacked at least two officials, who later had to seek medical treatment for head wounds, the official said.

Power was later restored to the flat.

Mr Oveyan could not be immediately located for comment.

The political scene is tense and occasionally violent in Armenia. In 1999, the country was shocked by an attack in which gunmen burst into parliament and killed the prime minister, parliament speaker and six other officials and politicians.

In September, the mayor of a small Armenian town was arrested after he was accused of shooting and killing the head of a local electricity plant. The mayor was later re-elected despite being jailed.

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