Albanians mourn two Czech victims, police arrest confessed killer

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 6, 2015 13:24

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  • Albanian social media channels quickly filled with angry comments over the crime, and solidarity rallies were organized

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Albanians lit candles and wrote messages of condolences at a gathering in Tirana. (Photos: A. Balla/ Tirana  Times)

Albanians lit candles and wrote messages of condolences at a gathering in Tirana. (Photo: A. Balla/ Tirana Times)

TIRANA, July 5 – Hundreds of Albanians have held vigils in Shkodra and Tirana to honor two Czech visitors who were killed in rural northern Albania last week.

Michal Svatoš, 27, and Anna Kosinová, 36, were visiting the mountainous Dukagjin and Theth regions, which are popular with campers from central Europe, when they were shot dead in their vehicle, which was later rolled down a ravine.

Police on Sunday said a man they had arrested in the case as the primary suspect had confessed to having committed the murders as part of an attempted robbery.

Albanian social media channels quickly filled with angry comments over the crime, and solidarity rallies were organized and held in Shkodra, the nearest city to the murder, and Tirana, the Albanian capital.

Crowds holding the photos of the victims as well as the flags of the Czech Republic and Albania rallied in Shkodra, while Tirana residents lit candles honoring the victims and wrote messages of condolences.

Albanians hold welcoming and keeping guests safe as a basic element of their culture, the organizers said. And crimes against tourists are rarer than elsewhere in Europe, statistics show.

Police identified and arrested 20-year-old Sokol Fran Mjacaj of Lotaj village, Dukagjin region, as the author. He had just come out of prison a month earlier, after serving time for his association with another killing five years ago.

Mjacaj's fingerprints were found at the scene, and he confessed to the murders as part of a botched robbery, police told local media.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 6, 2015 13:24