Greek minority party in Albania calls murder of Katsifas an “execution”

The murder of the Greek has raised tensions

The Albanian political party “Omonia” which represents the Greek ethnic minority in the country said the killing of Konstantinos Katsifas at the village of Vouliarates on Sunday by Albanian special police forces was an “execution”.

In a written statement, the party accused the Albanian police of failing to observe the “proper rules of engagement” which resulted in the unjust death of the young man from North Epirus. The statement also accused Tirana of exercising “psychological warfare against the Greek ethnic minority, as well as a portion of Albanian media for the outburst of anti-Greek propaganda that has been intensifying in recent times.

According to the information available, the incident occurred when the victim raised a large Greek flag in the village in celebration of the OXI Day national holiday which led to a feud with police and eventually his killing later.

Men of the Special Forces of the Albanian police lowered the flag, reportedly for security reasons, which caused the reaction of Katsifas and his quarrel with them. Words were exchanged with the police threatening him. After returning to the scene with a Kalashnikov (illegally possessed)  in hand, which Katsifas has got from his home he started firing in the air. According to one scenario, he fired shots in the air to intimidate police and another to celebrate the national holiday in honour of the WW2 that had fallen.

He then fled and police pursued him.

After his flight, more police forces arrived at the Greek-dominated village and started carrying out door-to-door searches to find him. The police invaded the victim’s home, exerting violence on his relatives according to reports. Eventually, he was located at noon in a deserted tank on a hill top over the village where he was killed.

The statements by Albanian PM Edi Rama, who called on the Greek side to “calm down” as the Albanian forces had killed “an extremist”, as well as provocative statements in the Albanian media added fuel to the fire.