17-year-old girl killed over irrigation blood feud

17-year-old girl killed over irrigation blood feud
A debate over an irrigation stream in Dukagjin, Malesi e Madhe, took the lives of three people, including a 17-year-old girl.

Maria Qukaj was shot to death while watering the corn plots around her house, together with her 70-year-old grandfather, Kole Qukaj, who died later in hospital. Police is looking for three suspects, the two brothers Prroi, 27 and 32 years old, and their 43-year-old uncle. According to the police, by killing the young girl and her grandfather, the two brothers revenged the blood of their father who was killed two years earlier by Gjoke Qukaj, the brother of the girl, after a dispute for an irrigation stream.

After the crime that took place in 2010, both families had entered a blood feud. Although the author was sentenced to prison by the government, they had to take the blood of their relative, by realizing a macabre crime that took the lives of the young sister and the old grandfather of the prisoner.

The authors of this crime live in the Skenderbej neighborhood, Shkoder. According to the police, they set an ambush to the girl and her grandfather, and killed both of them while they were watering the corn plots.

The Prroi and Qukaj families used to live in the Kir village, Pult commune, very close to each other, until the day they entered the blood feud.

After this tragic crime, the organization “Free Though Forum” - which is committed to study the blood feud phenomenon in Northern Albania and create the documentation for the isolated families - released a press statement in which they condemn the macabre tradition of the deep northern Albanian villages, a 500 years old law called “Kanun”, and blamed the state structures for not having paid the necessary attention to the problem.

“The real killer is not the bloody criminal that hides as a coward behind bushes for killing a child, but the state that keeps playing deaf and blind in front of this phenomenon that must not accompany us to the EU integration road”, the press release states.

“Maria is not just a girl that doesn’t live anymore. She’s the symbol of this common ugliness that we have; the symbol of an inexistent state; the symbol of a society that hides under its silence and commodity. The mourning of Maria’s parents is a cry that we must not allow to be faded away, but that we must turn into the hymn of the battle for finding justice. It is  a motive that must make all of us responsible and protest on the roads not on behalf of politics, but on the name of life”, says the statement of the Free Thought Forum.