On Thursday January 22nd 2004, four IR staff members were killed in a car accident while on their way to visit a bereaved colleague, in the Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.
The fatal accident happened just outside the village of Argudan when the car, driven by Murat Lukiyaev, swerved into the path of an oncoming truck.
Two of the passengers, Albert Shomakhov and Julietta Gourfova, were thrown from the vehicle and died instantly. Murat Lukiyaev and Rimma Taova were trapped in the vehicle. Rimma died at the scene, while Murat died in hospital from head injuries three hours later.
Islamic Relief staff in the Russia office have been devastated by the sudden and tragic deaths. Those who died were not simply colleagues, but were also close friends.
"They were our dearest friends, and wonderful people," said Mohammed Alla, Islamic Relief Country Director for Russia. "We will always cherish their memories in our hearts".
Murat Lukiyaev, aged 32, was a dedicated member of staff who helped establish IR's presence in Russia. He worked as area coordinator for four years and set up warehouses and distribution channels to bring aid to Chechen refugees in Ingushetia. He regularly worked long hours and spent weeks away from home. Murat leaves behind his wife and a four-month-old son.
Julietta Gourfova, aged 40, was married with two sons. She began working in a warehouse packing food parcels for distribution to refugees, and then moved to the Country Office in Nalchik. She was a much loved member of staff who kept everyone in good spirits.
Albert Shomakhov, aged 24, worked as a security officer. He was known for his patience and resilience, having coped bravely with the loss of both his mother and his fiancé two years ago. Albert is survived by his father.
Rimma Taova, aged 48, joined IR recently as a personnel officer. She had two daughters, the younger aged 13. Rimma was a friendly person, who was reliable responsible and professional in all her work.
Islamic Relief extends its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and their friends in the Russia office. They all remain in our prayers.