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News 06 Aug 14

Kosovo ex-MP on Run After Killing Ex-Soldier

Kosovo Police are searching for a former MP who has admitted having killed a man on Monday and is now in hiding.

Nektar Zogjani
BIRN
Pristina

Former MP, Gani Geci | Photo by: Facebook

Police are hunting for Gani Geci, an MP when Kosovo declared independence in 2008, who has admitted killing Ruzhdi Shaqiri, a veteran of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, in his hometown of Skenderaj.

The ex-politician has refused to surrender to the local authorities and has said he wants the EU law mission, EULEX, to handle the case.

Geci told Rugova Press portal on Monday that he committed the murder in a heightened emotional state and in self-defence. “I feel sorry for what has happened but this is the reality,” he said.

Geci said he had had a verbal conflict with the victim earlier and felt threatened. “I thought he had come to kill me and, fearing that I would be shot on my back, I opened fire,” he said.

“He came to Skenderaj. When I entered the café Qosh Bar, he was not there, but I saw him while I was walking out,” he recalled.

“He insulted me; he moved his hand toward his gun, so I pulled out mine very quickly.  It all happened in a matter of five seconds, no more,” Geci added.

Police say they still do not have any information about Geci's whereabouts, while EULEX said that this issue was under the competence of the Kosovo Police.   

“Investigations are still going on, but there is no information on where is he is now,” Avni Zahiti, a police spokesperson, told Balkan Insight on Wednesday.          

The former member of the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, was involved in a number of violent incidents after the Kosovo conflict ended.  

In 2006, he started a fight at an LDK meeting, because he was dissatisfied with the election of new party general council. After this, Kosovo’s then largest political party split in two, with Nexhat Daci establishing his Democratic League of Dardania, which Geci joined.

In May this year, Geci admitted that he had killed a former KLA commander, Abedin Rexha Sandokani, on October 8, 1998, again saying he acted in self-defence.

Sandokani’s widow has long disputed this version of events. “Geci was against KLA structures, and that is why he killed my husband,” she said in 2009.

In 2013, Geci was involved in a fistfight with a former KLA commander, Azem Syla. He is known to have strained relations with former KLA commanders, because during the war he and his brothers supported Kosovo’s late President, Ibrahim Rugova, whose pacifist politics put him at odds with the KLA.

Geci mentioned his mobile phone number in his declaration to the media, urging the police to confirm he had received threatening messages from his victim.  BIRN tried to contact him on Wednesday, but there was no reply.

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