They were armed with AK47 and were wearing full-faced black masks. In broad daylight three people robbed a bank at gunpoint right in the center of the coastal city of Vlora in Albania and terrorized the bank staff and customers alike. They disarmed the guard, took away his weapon and upon entering the bank opened fire in the air and asked the tellers and customers to take out all the money they had and give it to them. The robbers collected the money and disappeared living the customers terrorized and puzzled about how is that possible for such terror to happen in the light of day. Most of the customers were Albanians residing abroad and were in the city on holidays. A woman said amidst tears that she was really scared about her children’s lives. “They put the gun to my head - she said – and told me to hand them the money. They took $10,000 from me, all the savings I had. I don’t know what country is this! We work hard abroad to buy a house and build a future for our kids here and look what happens!”
The soaring of crime rate in Albania in recent days arises some fundamental questions about the work of police in the country. Did the cops hear the gun shots in a bank in the city center? How come there was no police squad car in the central square at that hour?
The inability of police to prevent and solve crime is nothing new, but the dismissal of experts have made police a slack and inactive institution, leaving citizens unprotected and vulnerable to criminals.
By Alfred Kola