The fifth part
Memorie.al publishes the unknown and sensational story of the so-called “Xhevdet Mustafa gang”, which included: Sabaudin Haznedari, Xhevdet Mustafa and Halit Bajrami, who at midnight on September 26, 1982, by means of a small motorboat that had set off from the Italian coast, landed on the coast of Divjaka, where after killing a police officer and a villager of the area, under the force of arms, held hostage another police officer, who would show them the way to advance inland Albanian, until they arrived in the small town of Rrogozhina, where they were discovered by the State Security people and after a gun attempt, its ‘capo’ Sabaudin Haznedari, was killed in a fire center, and also the same “Lucky” would also be Xhevdet Mustafa, who was killed after a few hours, in a house in the village of Zhamë in Lushnja, after he had previously killed the owner of the house and a police non-commissioned officer who was following him on a motorcycle. The rare testimony of Gafurr Haznedari from the city of Durrës, the brother of the ‘kapos’ of that gang, who tells for the first time the whole story of the so-called “Xhevdet Mustafa gang”, which according to the version of Enver Hoxha, was sent by UDB in collaboration with Leka Zogu, in order to assassinate the first secretary of the Central Committee of the ALP. ” and the well-known playwright, Sulejman Pitarka, would dedicate the drama “The Fisherman Family”, as well as all the State Security combinations, from their escape until the event of September 26, 1982, when Sabaudini and Xhevdet remained killed, in an effort with the forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while Halit Bajrami, after being held for some time in the “Investigator” and the Hotel “Tirana”, was escorted by the Albanian Intelligence to New Zealand, where he lived peacefully even after years ’90s, refusing to trespass more in Albania!
Full 39 years ago, on the morning of Sunday, September 26, 1982, an unusual and very sensational event took place in a small town in Central Albania. He broke the silence and the stifling monotony that prevailed for years in the communist Albania of that time, causing great confusion and panic even in the ranks of the high hierarchy of the communist leadership led by Enver Hoxha. That same afternoon, the news of that event, which had spread with an unusual speed almost all over the country, was narrated in various forms. It was also announced by the Albanian Radio-Television, through an official announcement given through an official communiqué of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was broadcast on the news program at 20.00. That official communiqué, among other things, stated that: ‘an armed gang financed and trained by the secret services of some neighboring countries, in cooperation with the enemies of the Albanian people, had landed several kilometers. in the depths of the Albanian territory on the coast of Divjaka, where it was completely destroyed by the forces of the Ministry of Interior ‘.
Nearly two months later, still without echoing the echo of that event, during a meeting that the leader of communist Albania, Enver Hoxha, held with the voters of his constituency in Tirana, among other things, he spoke about the “gang” that had already become known, all over Albania, as the “Xhevdet Mustafa Gang”. In this regard, he said: “The armed gang of the criminal Xhevdet Mustafa, which was prepared and financed by Leka Zogu in cooperation with the Yugoslav UDB and the foreign secret services of some neighboring countries, was annihilated and completely eliminated inside six hours from their landing, still without seeing the Albanian sun well “.
This sensational event, which at that time shook the whole of Albania and opened a great panic for several months in a row, putting on high alert all the units of the Armed Forces and volunteer detachments, was spoken and written only after the ’90s, with the collapse of the communist regime, but again, the whole event of September 26, 1982, where Sabaudin Haznedari and Xhevdet Mustafa were killed, as well as the so-called “Xhevdet Mustafa gang”, although four decades have passed since then, continues to remain shrouded in mystery, bearing upon itself a series of question marks!
In this context, in order to try to shed some light on that distant event, Memorie.al returns to a cycle of articles about the so-called “Xhevdet Mustafa gang”, publishing new facts and events previously unknown, which come through the interview with Gafurr Haznedari from the city of Durrës, who is the brother of Sabaudin Haznedari, the leader of the “commando group”, who, together with Xhevdet Mustafa and Halit Bajrami, landed on the coast of Divjaka in the distant midnight of 26- September 1982, where according to the official Tirana version articulated by Enver Hoxha himself in his speech before his constituency voters in Tirana, “he was sent by the UDB in collaboration with Leka Zogu, in order to kill the secretary the first of the Central Committee of the ALP ”.
After the interview with Mr. Gafurr Haznedari that will be published in six consecutive issues (starting today), Memorie.al will continue again with other articles, testimonies and interviews, from actors of that event, relatives of their families, as well as witnesses which, by chance, connected them, or led them to the place where 39 years ago the ‘armed commando group’, otherwise known as the “Xhevdet Mustafa gang” landed, an event which even today, after four decades, continues to remain covered with mystery.
Rare testimony of Gafurr Haznedari, brother of the “gang leader” Xhevdet Mustafa”
Continued from the previous issue
Mr. Gafur, what do you know about Sabaudini’s activity, before he came to Albania with Xhevdet Mustafa and Halit Bajrami?
Before Sabaudini came to Albania, Sabaudini lived in the Italian capital, Rome, together with his only daughter, his Italian wife, as I said above, who was poisoned by the State Security, after he dropped bombs on the Albanian embassy there, together with Avdul Banushi. Since settling in Rome, Sabaudini had opened a private laundromat and managed to generate considerable income. But he spent more of that income helping Albanian anti-communist immigrants and turned his home in Rome into a charity for all those fleeing to the West. This is still proved today by many Albanians who had the opportunity to be helped by him. This was also witnessed by an Albanian from Bar, named Hasan Gorana, who in 1970, in a letter he sent to us, from New York, wrote, among other things: “I am grateful to Sabauddin. “He has sheltered me in his house, with all my wife. There is no mother in the world to give birth to a son like Sabaudini.”
What do you know about the creation of the so-called “Xhevdet Mustafa gang” which also included Sabaudini?
Based on what I managed to learn after the ’90s, regarding the gang that came to Albania, the idea for the creation of the’ commando group ‘was born to Sabaudini, about a year and a half ago, somewhere from the beginning of 1980. Since then, Sabaudini undertook a long journey through several countries of the world, especially in those countries where the Albanian anti-communist diaspora lived. The purpose of that trip was for him to contact trusted people, in order to recruit them, as members of his group, who would land in Albania. During Sabaudini’s trip to the US, he met Xhevdet Mustafa, with whom, although they were from a city, they had not met before, as Xhevdet was about 20 years younger. After Sabudin presented to him the purpose for which he had met, Xhevdet, he was quite ready to be part of Sabaudin’s group. After securing Xhevdet’s participation in his group, Sabaudini returned to Europe and embarked on another trip to several Balkan countries. While in Macedonia, Sabaudini stayed for a few days in Skopje and slept in a hotel room with an Albanian from Dibra e Madhe, named Luan Haxhirexha. To meet that person, Sabaudini had a recommendation from a friend of his and during the conversation, in that hotel room, he made known the purpose of the meeting, telling Luan: “I find some young and trusted boys. , to go to Albania and brainwash Enver Hoxha “.
How did Hajir Hajj respond?
From the beginning, Leo expressed his reservations about that mission, not categorically approving it, and said: “That job is not done. This is a very dangerous and unattainable adventure. You do not know how Albania is “. After that, Sabaudini, I go on to say: “That people has remained like that bare tree whose leaves fall in autumn and those leaves of a match want from us, to catch fire immediately.”
What was the real mission that that gang would carry out in Albania?
What I said above. The mission of the gang was the assassination of Enver Hoxha, which would take place in Tirana, during the official holidays and meetings that Enver was expected to hold at that time. “For the realization of that mission, Sabaudini was more than sure that he would carry it out successfully, and he expressed that with all those trusted people he met at that time.”
It is said that Leka Zogu was also involved in the preparation of the “gang”, what do you know about this?
I do not know exactly what the truth is about the people or secret services, who were hiding behind Sabaudini, who was the leader of that gang, but I can say that: with Leka Zogu, he has had an acquaintance for many years. This was confirmed in his testimony, in the false trial that took place in Tirana, by the agent of the Albanian Intelligence, Halit Bajrami, who said there that Sabaudin Haznedari was the person who gathered a large part of the Albanian anti-communist diaspora and took them to Leka Zogu’s wedding.
How did the Albanian Intelligence fall in the footsteps of the “gang” that Sabaudini was creating?
I think that the deconstruction of this “gang” was during Sabaudini’s travels to different countries of the world to find people and create the gang. The State Security did not find it very difficult to learn that, when it is known that he had many of his agents infiltrated into the ranks of the anti-communist diaspora. “So, after the Security was informed about the creation of the gang by Sabauddin, to control it at every step, it made every effort and managed to include in its ranks, two agents: Halit and Fadil.”
But why did Sabaudini take Halit into his gang, when it is said that he knew about him, that he worked for the State Security?
I have also thought about this question for years and it has defeated me a lot. There are several versions related to this. One of the most important and that I think is closer to the truth, is that: Sabaudini thought that Haliti no longer served the State Security? This is because he had been living in New Zealand for years and had not been activated by Albanian Intelligence. There have been other cases, by Albanian Intelligence agents, who have played a double game. So, they agreed to go out, on a mission and then no longer work on behalf of the Security, not leaving openly at all, but providing information without any value. In the meeting that Sabaudini had with Haliti, he was fully prepared to come to Albania, as a member of his gang. Based on this, Sabaudini thought that Haliti would not betray him, as he had had a childhood friend and they had fled together, since 1950. But although Sabaudini agreed to take Haliti in his group, he had many doubts about him and his friend, the fourth person, who trained with them.
Who was this person and why did he not come to Albania with the “Xhevdet Mustafa gang”?
The fourth person also lived for years in New Zealand, where he was sent on a mission by the State Security. This person was introduced to Sabudin by Halit Bajrami during his trip to New Zealand, as he did not know him and Sabaudin agreed to take him with him. After Fadil trained with the gang for some time, in some European countries, at the last moment, when the four of them had come to Italy and were to board, on the speedboat that would sail to the Albanian shores, Fadil became ill and told them, that he would go to a pharmacy to buy some medicine. Sabauddin allowed him to leave, as he did not think he would not return. After leaving the gang, Fadil went to the train station in Florence, where he accidentally met an anti-communist Albanian named Eqerem Maçi, of Tirana origin. After meeting Eqerem, he asked him for a $ 1,500 loan, telling him that he had lost his wallet and would return it to him as soon as he arrived in Zealand. Being a close friend of Sabauddin, Eqeremi gave him the dollars and he left straight for Zealand. Three days later he called Eqerem, telling him that he had posted the dollars to him in Italy. Eqeremi, who had learned of the failure of the gang mission and the assassination of Sabauddin and Xhevdet, told him on the phone: “I do not see the paint anymore and I do not want the money at all, because you betrayed Sabauddin in Albania.”
How do you know these?
This was proved to us by Eqerem Maçi himself, in a letter he sent after the ’90s from Italy, to Sabaudin’s son, Skënder.
But after Fadil’s departure, did Sabaudini doubt it and why did he continue the mission?
After his departure, Sabaudini certainly raised doubts, but he could not but continue the mission he had undertaken, because his character did not allow him and he had become the god of that mission. But because Sabaudini doubted Fadil’s departure, he also changed the group’s itinerary and place of landing. This was the reason why the “gang” was able to land on the coast of Divjaka, without being understood at all by the special forces of the Ministry of Interior, which had about six months, doing regular service on the coast, waiting for it.
Did Haliti know about the landing place of the gang?
Haliti knew where they were going to land and he had notified the State Security of this, but when they boarded the speedboat and Sabaudini changed his voyage, he could no longer notify the Security because he was under full control of Sabauddin and Xhevdet. So, in the boat, Haliti had no way to break away and announce on the radio, the Security for the place of landing. Halit himself admitted in his testimony, saying that he, like Halit, had done his duty and had informed the Security, from the hotels of Paris and Brussels, where they went to buy weapons.
What do you know about the annihilation of the “gang”, after landing on the Albanian coast?
After the “gang” landed on the coast of Divjaka, around midnight, until daybreak, they stayed in a fire center, which is known to have filled the coast. When they came out of the bunker, they saw a police officer (it seems to me that he was the Deputy Chief of Lushnja Police) and remembering that he was going to kill them, they shot him and he died on the spot, there on the coast. Then they left to take the national road and travel to Tirana. On the way, Xhevdeti eliminated two or three people who came in front of him, thinking that they were being pursued, and one of them, a policeman named Socrates, took him hostage, loading his bags, which he had with him. While Socrates kept the bags of clothes and other equipment they had, the bag of weapons, Sabudin left to Halit. All the while, until they came out on the national road, Sabaudini and Xhevdet walked forward, while Haliti, who had his bag with weapons, walked behind them, not to be understood. But, apparently, Haliti did not have an order to kill them, because his being, as an agent of the Albanian Security, should not be deconstructed.
How was the “gang” discovered?
After the three of them went out on the national road, at the train station in Rrogozhina, Halit Bajrami did not follow them, but entered a barber shop and said: “Catch them both, because they are saboteurs”. Sabaudini and Xhevdet, when they saw that Halit was not after them (according to the order they had given him), they realized that he had betrayed them and dispersed. Xhevdeti, with the force of a weapon, took a car and fled in the direction of the village of Zhamë in Lushnja (probably with the intention of returning to where they had come from), while Sabudini entered a nearby bunker.
Were Sabauddin armed with Xhevdet?
At the moment they separated, they had with them, only a pistol, because Halit Bajrami had automatic weapons.
Under what circumstances was Sabudin killed?
Sabaudini was surrounded by volunteer and police forces, in the bunker where he had entered and there he was shot with numerous volleys, calling on him to surrender. He never fired at them, but at one point, he told them: “Do not fight against me, but let us join forces and go to Tirana and kill Enver Hoxha.” After that, he was shot again and in order not to fall alive, in their hands, he killed himself, shooting him with a bullet in the head. This is the truth of his murder and not as they said he was killed by a volunteer gunman. This is also clear from the photos of the forensic expertise of the Ministry of Interior. While Sabaudini was killed there around 11.00, Xhevdeti was killed in the afternoon, in the house where he entered, in the village of Zhamë.
After that event, did the people of the State Security take you to take you for the verification of the bodies of Sabauddin and Xhevdet?
No one even told us about this, because the Security knew well, since a year of their arrival and who they were, and there was no need to verify the bodies.
What about during the internment, how were you treated and did you have any problems?
From September 27, 1982 until the end of 1990, when we all returned to Durrës, we suffered as all the internees in Albania did. We were not allowed to move from the place of internment without the permission of the Internal Affairs Branch, and for the first time, the five brothers came together in 1985, when our mother died, in the village of Grabova, Gramsh. There we were informed that a decision had been made that our mother should not be buried in the village cemetery and the younger brother, Qerimi, who lived with his mother, dug a pit by the side of a road, near a large stone, in order not to he lost it completely and we buried him there, only we brothers.
Have you searched for and found the remains of Sabauddin?
After the ’90s I personally engaged in the search for the remains of Sabudin’s bones. After inquiring at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the generous help of former Minister Bashkim Kopliku, we found the minutes with the names of the three people who had carried out their burial in Linza.
Did you contact them?
We managed to meet one of them, who were convicted at the time, for crimes against humanity. When we told him we wanted help finding the remains of Sabauddin Haznedar and Xhevdet Mustafa, he said, “How do you look for the remains of Xhevdet Mustafa, when he killed five people?”
How did you respond?
I replied, saying, ‘Xhevdet, had not come here to be invited to the wedding’, but he tired us and did not tell us the place where they were buried, justifying that: he with his two colleagues “they had found the pit open and he did not remember the burial place.”
What about Halit Bajrami and the other person Fadil, did you get in touch after the ’90s?
After the 1990s, one by one, some of the Albanian Intelligence agents returned to Durrës, having been on missions for years outside Albania and residing in New Zealand. I contacted them and one of them undertook to take Halit Bajrami to Zealand, a letter I had written.
What did you write to Halit in that letter?
I wrote to him literally: “Halit, you will answer me for what you have done”.
Are you convinced that Halit Bajrami received that letter?
He definitely got it, because after her, he could not come to Albania anymore! /Memorie.al