Albanian "cannabis kingdom" village under police siege

12 members of a group that on Wednesday morning opened fire at the Albanian police, killing one officer and wounding two others, have been arrested.

Source: Beta, AFP, Tanjug
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The incidents happened in the Albanian village of Lazarat, "known as a 'cannabis kingdom' for its industrial-scale production of the drug," AFP reported.

According to reports the police continues to search and control the village, while all access roads are "under complete control of the police."

Among the suspects still at large 15 are aged from 17 to 22. Albanian Prime MInister Edi Rama paid his respects to the policeman who was killed, who he said previously served in NATO's mission in Afghanistan.

According to AFP, the EU delegation in Tirana and the U.S. embassy condemned the killing.

The Albanian police on Wednesday evening sent 400 members of its special forces and local police to Lazarat in order to arrest those responsible for opening fire on policemen.

The village, located 230 kilometers south of Tirana, is considered a center for illegal cannabis production that reaches 900 tons a year, worth EUR 4.5 billion.

Albanian media outlet Top Channel quoted "unofficial information" to say it is suspected that one of the wanted persons "returned from Syria a few days ago." Meanwhile the police appealed on the suspects to surrender, and on citizens and local authorities to cooperate with the police.

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