On the 28th October 2018, Konstantinos Katsifas, a 35-year-old man belonging to the native Greek community of Northern Epirus in today’s Southern Albania, was shot dead by Albanian police near Vouliaratis, around 5km from the Greek-Albanian border, during an alleged shooting exchange between the man and special police forces.
Katsifas had raised the Greek flag for “OXI Day” to commemorate the Greek soldiers who lost their lives defending Greece during the Greco-Italian War of 1940.
According to Albanian media, the 35-year-old used a gun to shoot toward the Albanian police forces who removed the flag following October 28 celebrations in the village and then went into hiding but was intercepted shortly after by a team from the Albanian police’s special forces, who claimed that the 35-year-old shot at them before they opened fire and killed him. However, no evidence has been put forward to corroborate the reports by the media.
After raising the Greek flag, Katsifas shouted “Zito I Ellas” as he took his last breath.
At the time, the Greek Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it was “unacceptable that the operation reached the point where human life was lost.”
“We expect from Albanian authorities the full clarification of the conditions under which the Greek citizen in question lost his life and will immediately take the appropriate action,” it concluded.
”Katsifas is a hero martyr,” Member of the European Parliament from Cyprus, Eleni Theocharous said,
Although two full years have passed since the murder of Katsifas on October 28 by the local police force, the family are yet to receive the final conclusions from Albanian courts on the circumstances of Konstantinos’ death.
To date, two prosecutors have resigned, apparently refusing to issue a false report.