Monthly report

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – December 2019

Present situation
Unfortunately, the seismic shocks – the so-called earthquake swarm – continued after the terrible earthquake happened on November 26th. The European Commission announced that an international conference of donors from EU member countries will be held in January for the reconstruction of Albania. In general, the earthquake damaged around 14,000 buildings and left around 13,000 people homeless. Meanwhile, the tests to check the safe condition of the houses continue, although many families who lived in the most isolated areas complain about the absence and the aloofness of the institutions. The satirical program “Fiks Fare” reported a particular case in Thumanë, the epicenter of the earthquake, where only few houses remained undamaged. A family with 7 children lives in the backyard in difficult conditions, without access to the accommodation services offered by the State, since they are involved in a blood feud and therefore do not trust to live together with other citizens for security reasons. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – November 2019

Present situation
In November, we did not report any cases attributable to the blood feuds phenomenon. However, at the beginning of the month, the Albanian TV program “Fiks fare” had a great relevance in the media, showing the interview of a man who is moving to Germany by bus in order to apply for the asylum because of blood feud reasons. The unrecognizable passenger from Lezha affirms that he had to pay a significant amount of money to the prosecutor’s office, the judges and an association which deals with reconciliation, in order to obtain the documents attesting he is a blood feud victim.
On November 26th, a terrible and strong earthquake (magnitude 6.4 on the Richter scale) struck Albania, causing 51 victims and more than 750 injured. The Durrës area was the epicentre of the earthquake and the town of Thumanë was arshly hit. Albania, poorly equipped to deal with such a natural disaster, found itself in serious difficulty. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – October 2019

Present situation
The political situation in Albania is still uncertain. The new local elections, expected to take place on October 13th have never occurred. A new mayor has not yet been elected in the municipality of Shkodër, after the withdrawal of the last elected one because of a scandal over his conviction for drug trafficking in Italy. Meanwhile, the municipality is still run by the outgoing mayor.
Furthermore, the European Union has postponed the opening of access negotiations for Albania and Northern Macedonia: despite the European Commission accordance in its accession, France strongly opposed opening. Conte, the Prime Minister of Italy, defined this decision as “A historical mistake“. The European Parliament has also expressed its disappointment due to the lack of agreement through a resolution.
In regard to the crime news, at the beginning of October, a murder occured in the northern region of Mirdita: a 34-year-old man was probably killed because of a blood feud. In fact, on February 24th, his brother had killed a 45-year-old man in a gunfight in Durrës. Because of what his brother committed, it seems that the victim lived in a self-isolation condition because he feared for his life. From media, we learnt that the alleged culprit for this murder was a victim’s childhood friend and his family members now live, in turn, self-isolated.
This month an important mention was given, through an award ceremony, to Dritan Prroj, Protestant minister of the Fjala e Krishtit (Word of Christ) church, killed in 2010 for blood feuds reasons. His death led to the foundation of the Association “Jo gjakmarrjes, Po Jetes” (No to blood feud, Yes to Life) which deals with combating the phenomenon, with particular attention to minors’ education and women support. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – September 2019

Present situation
At the beginning of September, the blood feuds phenomenon emerged from the chronicles because of a murder case in Bulqizë (Dibër region). A young man killed his friend for reasons that are still unclear, and the police – for fear of reprisals by the victim’s family – oversaw the house of the culprit’s family.
Moreover, a long analysis of the phenomenon and its consequences appeared in the Albanian media, starting from the description of a conflict that arose in 1997 and degenerated into a blood feud until today. The editorial aims to remind the Albanian institutions that they should eradicate this social plague once and for all, since it is in stark contrast to the demands of modernity and development of the European Union. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – August 2019

Present situation
Albania is still in a political situation of strong instability. Due to the ongoing party rivalries and the low representativeness of the last local elections in which only about 20% of the population went to the polls, the newly elected mayors are facing different difficulties. Especially in municipalities like Shkodër, where the incoming representatives belong to a party which is different from the one of the outgoing mayors, the takeover process is undergoing slowdowns and setbacks.
This month, a wound and two murders hit the public opinion. In Vlorë, 3 members of a family were wounded by gunfire from a man and his son because of a dispute for trivial reasons. In Fier, a 23-year-old man from Tropoja, was stabbed and killed by two peers for trivial reasons. In the center of Rreshen, a 48-year-old man was shot to death in front of his children. The reasons for the crime still remain to be clarified, but at the moment the police investigations follow two leads: blood feud, because the victim’s family is involved in a long-running conflict; or a mafia-type attack caused by drug trafficking in which the man was involved and for which he had just served a sentence of about a year. (more…)