Kavala police say a compatriot the culprit in Albanian teen's murder; incident causes row between Athens, Tirana

Thursday, 06 December 2018 22:35
UPD:07/12/2018 12:35
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Police on Thursday in northern port city of Kavala said an underage suspect has admitted to the fatal shooting this week of an 18-year-old man in the city, an incident that generated a high-profile rebuke by Albania's foreign ministry towards Greek authorities and a prickly reaction by Athens.

The Albanian foreign ministry statement was directly related to the fact that the victim, a high school student whom it identified by name, was an Albanian citizen born in the Greek city to Albanian migrants.

"This is the fourth murder of an Albanian citizen within the last two weeks ... MEFA (the ministry) expresses its concern over the series of murders of Albanians in Greece over the past two weeks and at the same time its solidarity with their families... MEFA voices its indignation on the loss of life of our compatriots, which is further deepened due to delays in solving these cases by the Greek authorities," the statement, posted on the Albanian ministry's site, read.

Nevertheless, on Thursday authorities in the city said a fellow classmate of the victim confessed to using a handgun to fire a single and fatal shot at the latter.

The suspect, according to Greek police, is a 17-year-old high school student, a resident of the city and an Albanian citizen as well. According to police, the suspect claimed economic differences were the reason behind a quarrel between the two outside a nightclub, and that in his attempt to scare the victim the weapon misfired.

The ministry in Tirana had referred to four violent deaths recently of Albanian citizens in Greece, including the homicide of an farm hand on the Ionian island of Corfu, allegedly carried out by a 44-year-old supporter of the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party, but also to a border skirmish where a purported drug smuggler was shot by Greek police.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Athens, when asked during a press briefing on Wednesday, countered that "...The competent (Greek) Authorities immediately dealt with the situations referred to by Albania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which were investigated and have already been solved, as is mentioned in a relevant statement by the Hellenic Police ... The decisiveness of the Greek Authorities to crack down on crime in all its forms is a given. Likewise, we reiterate our self-evident condemnation of every form of violence and racism, which can lead to loss of human lives."

Spokesman Alexandros Yennimatas then referred to "generalisations" made by Tirana, saying that linking of separate criminal cases with an undeclared “campaign of hatred and violence does not correspond with reality and are unacceptable."

He also called on authorities in the neighboring country to provide a conclusive report on the death of Greek citizen Konstantinos Katsifas, who was killed in late October in a shoot out with Albanian security forces.

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