Brother of KLA commander shot ex-Yugoslav communist leader

Azem Vllasi - a lawyer and political analyst from Kosovo and former "Tito's youth" - has been shot from a firearm and wounded.

Source: Beta, Tanjug
(Screen capture)
(Screen capture)

The incident happened near his house in Pristina on Monday morning.

In the former Yugoslavia, ruled by Josip Broz Tito, Vllasi chaired the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia, and later became president of the League of Communists of Kosovo.

According to the public broadcaster in Kosovo, RTK, Vllasi, who has been taken to the hospital, was shot in the arm and is not in a life-threatening condition.

Late on Monday, the media in Pristina said that the attacker, Murat Jashari, was arrested, and that he admitted to shooting Vllasi. Another person was arrested for helping him.

RTS reported, citing Albanian language newspaper Gazeta Express, that Jashari, the brother of a former local KLA commander Ismet Jashari, aka "Commander Kumanovo", said his motive was "an event from the 1980s."

Jashari also reportedly said that he would also shoot "Kosovo PM Isa Mustafa and President Hashim Thaci."

Vllasi's wife Nadira Avdic-Vllasi told Beta earlier on Monday that her husband was shot in the shoulder and that the wound is not life-threatening.

"A person came to us this morning who asked to be represented by Azem in some case. Azem said that he was not working on these cases and after that, as I was able to notice, there was some pushing, and then a shot was heard. Azem was wounded in the shoulder," she said.

In a statement for Radio Free Europe made before the arrest, Vllasi said he was attacked by "a hired assassin," and recounted the incident:

"Somebody rang the door before eight o'clock. I came out. Some guy, sort of confused, held some papers. He said he had some property-related problem. I said I don't do those and that he should go to the neighboring street to see another (lawyer). Whether he came from Germany or was sent by someone, I don't know. I went in to write down the number on a piece of paper and give it to him. When I came out, he charged both me and the door, with a pistol and a silencer, obviously prepared, shot me in the shoulder and ran way. Judging by all the characteristics, this was a hired assassin."

Vllasi then said that he "has no problems based on his work as a lawyer, and never had any" and that his family "has no problems or quarrels with anyone."

"I don't know what to think and I don't want to guess. The investigation will show its own," he concluded.


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