The man, Vincens Prioli, survived after being shot. According to media reports, Prioli had previously expressed to his cousin fear for his life in Shkoder, and had hoped to move to Lezhe.
The background of the attack indicates that it may be connected to an ongoing blood feud. In 2018, Savo Gjurishic was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the murder of Kosovo Albanian Beqe Likaj. At the time, Gjurishic expressed concern that Likaj’s three brothers may seek revenge for his killing. Then, in 2021, Vincens Piroli and Dorian Lala killed Savo’s father, Momcillo Gjurishic.
According to media reports, Piroli and Lala entered Montenegro illegally to execute Momcillo Gjurishic in Ulqin, a largely Albanian area of the country. Montenegro issued international arrest warrants for the pair soon thereafter, with Montenegro police suspecting the Likaj family of hiring the two to carry out the murder.
In Albania, Gjakmarrje (blood revenge) refers to an obligation passed on to individuals to regain honor through murder. For example, if a member of one family dishonors an individual in another family, the former can seek revenge and restore honor by murdering a member of the latter family.
Rooted in societal rules founded hundreds of years ago, the idea of honor continues to be one of the most important in Albanian culture to this day. To keep one’s honor intact is considered vital by many Albanians, and even more important than the life of another person. To violate honor, or to do something dishonorable, is punishable by social rejection or even death.
Once a family is dragged into a blood feud, all male members of the family are at risk of murder. According to social norms, women, children and priests are excused from blood feuds, though this rule is not always followed. It is not uncommon, then, for men linked to blood feuds to remain confined to their homes for years or decades at a time; some children born into feuding families have remained indoors for most of their lives.
The Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation (CNR) has estimated that at least 12,000 people have died in Albanian blood feuds since 1991. At the same time, judges purportedly accept bribes in exchange for reduced prison sentences, leading many to rely on Gjakmarrje as a more acceptable form of justice.
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