Kosovo police arrest high-ranking officials suspected of gunrunning

Published on December 21, 2006, BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom

Category: Organized Crime in Kosovo

Text of report by Kosovo Albanian television KohaVision TV on 20 December

[Announcer] Three persons, two of whom are senior Alliance for the Future of Kosova [AAK] officials, were arrested today by Kosova [Kosovo] police. They are suspected of a crime which took place in the village of Shtutice near Drenas [Glogovac].

According to our sources, the arrested individuals are Skenderbe Hebibi, member of AAK presidency; and Naim Bazaj, chairman of the AAK branch in Drenas. The two are also advisors at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare - as well as Mursel Bilallaj.

Police said that during the arrest they found a sizable amount of different weapons and ammunition in their possession, from rocket launchers to masks. According to unofficial sources, the transport of the weapons was carried out with vehicles belonging to the ministry, which is headed by Ibrahim Selmanaj.

Kosova police said they were investigating the case and suspected that other people may be involved. This is part of an earlier investigation by the regional crime unit to identify and apprehend those involved in criminal activities, Kosova police have said.

The police did not provide any details about these criminal activities. KohaVision has been unsuccessful in obtaining a statement from Kosova Prime Minister [Agim] Ceku and Minister Selmanaj on the issue.

Source: KohaVision TV, Pristina, in Albanian 1800 gmt 20 Dec 06

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