– The rare testimony of the former head of the Internal Affairs Branch of the Shkodra district, Përparim Xhaxho, regarding the tragic accident, the most serious of the entire period of the communist regime!
Memorie.al/ publishes an archival document extracted from the Archives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tirana, which belongs to the date August 12, 1985, where there is a daily communique with extraordinary events (escapes, murders at the border, crimes with murder , injuries, fires, accidents, thefts, detentions of people by the police forces, arrests, etc.) occurred in all districts of the country, on August 10 and 11, where among them is the announcement of the tragic event of the serious accident dated 10.8.1985, where the driver Col. Engjëll Çurshoj, residing in the city of Shkodra, traveling with a ‘Skoda’ type vehicle, on the national road between Kiri and Prekal, lost control and fell from a height of 40 m. in the Kiri river, as a result 28 people died and 36 others were injured. The unknown history of the tragic event with the serious accident which the communist regime of that time, as usually happened, kept secret and did not make it public, as well as the other event of March 12, 2007 that happened in the same place, (between Kiri and Prekali), where 10 people lost their lives in a car accident, followed by four other events that happened afterwards, in the same place, and in a car accident, from which 7 more people lost their lives, brought to 47, the number of victims, without counting here the number of injured in these tragic events! The testimony of the former head of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Shkodra district, Përparim Xhaxho, regarding the tragic accident, as well as the colossal selfless work of the three doctors of the Civil Hospital of Shkodra, Ali Spahia, Ferit Hoti, Dradne Ago, etc. for the treatment of the 36 injured in the tragic accident of August 10, 1985. These events are being made public for the first time by Memorie.al, where together with the archival documents; we are also publishing the generals of the 47 victims, who lost their lives accidentally in the same place that road segment, along the national road: Dukagjin – Shkodër.
The archival document with the communique of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where there is also the announcement about the accident of August 10, 1985, where 28 people lost their lives and 36 others were seriously injured.
“On 10.8.1985, the driver Col. Engjëll Çurshoj, aged 51, resident of Shkodër, with the Škoda vehicle with license plate Sh. 25-73, along the Kir-Prekal-Shkodër road, between Kir and Prekal, met the Dukagjin – Shkodër line bus, which was defective and takes its passengers to Škoda. Along the way, in the place corresponding to the high voltage pole, No. 390, the car crashes, falling to a height of 40 m. in the Kir River, where 28 people died and 36 others were injured who are out of danger and are in the hospital. The driver was stopped.”
This is what is written about the accident in question in the communiqué of the Ministry of Internal Affairs dated August 10, 1985, and after this announcement, several other announcements follow, for events that occurred on August 10 and 11, 1985, of which we are publishing only two- three other announcements (two for Shkodra and one for Peshkopi), just to have a clearer idea, about the daily announcements of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at that time.
“On 11.8.1985, we were detained P.J.B. 25 years old, unemployed, convicted once for pickpocketing, for the reason that in cooperation with the B.Q.Ç., they stole the property of citizens”.
“On August 11, 1985, Muharrem Halit Saraçi, 25 years old, resident of Shkodër, was found drowned on the beach of Velipoja, the causes are unknown. The case continues.”
“On 10.8.1985, a fire appeared in the training center of the border department from the straw removed to fill the mattresses, where a window and 50 pairs of old soldiers’ clothes were burnt. The fire is kindled by itself.”
The testimony of the former head of the Internal Affairs Branch of Shkodra, Pëparim Xhaxho, about the accident of August 10, 1985.
Apart from the daily communiqué of the Ministry of Internal Affairs dated August 12, 1985, which briefly announces the event with the serious accident of August 10, where 28 people lost their lives, from the investigations of Memorie.al, in the archives of the Albanian state, no other document to talk or mention that serious event. So, there is no information report from the Party Committee of the Shkodra district to the Central Committee of the ALP, as was usually the case even for the most ordinary events of that time. (For example, the 1976 report-information of the secretary of the Party Committee of the district of Shkodra, Adem Tukaj, addressed to the Central Committee of PPSh, where it was announced that: “At the door of the cow stable of the Bushat Agricultural Cooperative, was written in pencil and fine print, ‘Down with the Party’, which was found by the guard in the morning. Together with the colleagues of the Internal Affairs Branch, we are following the problem and the authors who wrote that content slogan deeply hostile…”!). Unlike this above-mentioned event, where there was a long correspondence from the Central Committee of PPSh with the Party Committee of Shkodra, where Hysni Kapo instructed Foto Çami, how vigilance should be increased so that such events do not happen again, for the tragic accident of August 10, 1985, there is no such report-information. In relation to this event, in an interview that we took a few years ago with the former head of the Internal Affairs branch of the Shkodra district, Pëparim Xhaxho (regarding the event of January 23, 1982 in the city of Shkodra, the police in cooperation with the forces of of the army, two young men from Shkodran, Fatmir Gushi and Sali Breshni, were crushed by a tank in the middle of the city), he also told us about the tragic accident of August 10, 1985, saying that: about the real number of victims, no one should talk or he asked since such events were a state secret. Likewise in his testimony regarding that event. Mr. Xhaxho told us about the selfless work of the doctors of the Civil Hospital of Shkodra, Ali Spahia, Ferit Hoti, Drande Ago, etc., who upon receiving the notification about the accident that had happened, presented themselves at the hospital and there did a heroic job in treating the wounded and only thanks to them, it was possible to save some seriously injured, which would add to the tragic balance of the victims of that event.
List of names of 28 people who lost their lives in the accident of August 10, 1985
- Nokë Nik Noka
- Mark Mëhill Pjetri
- Kol Vata
- Gjovalin Kola
- Pashkë Nikja
- Shaqe Stragu
- Dedë Shyti
- Kozeta Vuksani
- Lindita Vuksani
- Nikë Kola
- Mrike Palja
- Mrikë Bardheci
- Kin Ndoci
- Gjergj Pllumi
- Viktor Lulashi
- Age Marashi
- Lulë Prenashi
- Prekë Gjeloshi
- Vuksan Preka
- Mark Pali
- Shaqe Nikja
- Pashkë Mirja
- Marie Ndoci
- Pjetër Kola
- Pjetër Zefi
- Dodë Miri
- Sulejman Hasmuja
- Imer Ibra
List of names of 10 people who lost their lives in the accident of March 12, 2007
But unfortunately, the tragic event of August 10, 1985, would not be the only one, in that road segment, after 22 years later, on March 12, 2007, another accident occurred near that place, where a vehicle (Benz van), with 13 passengers traveling the Dukagjin – Shkodër route, lost control of the vehicle and ended up in the Kir River from 1204 meters above sea level. As a result, only three people were able to escape by swimming, while 10 others lost their lives remaining in the waters of the Kir River.
- Pjetër Leka 67 vjeç
- Gjokë Uka 39 vjeç
- Shkurtë Bardhoja 28 vjeç
- Mark Nrethi 71 vjeç
- Gjergj Lulashi 49 vjeç
- Zojë Mhëillja 41 vjeç
- Kol Doda 64 vjeç
- Kristjan Kola 15 vjeç
- Kushe Dodja 45 vjeç
- Elza Ndoja 17 vjeç
The testimony of Zef Nika, about the accident of March 12, 2007
Regarding the tragic event of the accident on March 12, 2007, where 10 people lost their lives and 3 others were injured, one of the residents of that area, Mr. Zef Nika, describing in detail what happened there, where he says:
The “Benz” type van left in the early hours of the morning on March 12, 2007, Saturday, from the center of Shale-Breglumi municipality. He had only six passengers. On the way, in the village of Kir, he picked up other passengers to drop them off in Shkodër. A total of 13 passengers, including the driver. But, around 10.30 am, on the Shalë-Shkodër highway, in the place called Shkêmbi i Theth, near Marknona village, in the village of Kir, the van, which made this route daily and was driven by the driver Gjok Uka, due to a sharp turn, a malfunction occurred, he lost control of the vehicle, falling down the slope, about 120 meters below, into the cold waters of the Kir River. According to the evidence, when the van fell into the water, three people immediately got out of it: 15-year-old Gëzim Cerina and 13-year-old Marketin Kola from the village of Xhan in Pult municipality, as well as 55-year-old Fran Çuni from Breglumi in Shale municipality. Cerina swam a few meters and got out of the water. According to him, he does not remember how long he swam and how long he walked, but he only remembers the moment when he met his cousin Marashi. He gave him first aid by sending him to Prekal. It was Gezimi who announced the tragedy and only at 17:20 it was possible for the police and other state structures to be on the scene. With the arrival of the police forces, it was possible to extract 10 people from the waters of the Kir River. Because of the darkness, that night, the police only made it possible to send the injured to the Shkodra regional hospital. Relatives of the victims, the forces of the Rapid Intervention and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and those of the army from Tirana stayed at the scene throughout the night, not having the opportunity to evacuate the victims. Only when the day dawned, around 05:30, was it possible to remove the first lifeless body of Pjetër Leka from the village of Nenmavriq, in the municipality of Shale. Then a group of police officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs arrived in the country. At 06.20, helped by the relatives of the victims, the rescuers started removing other bodies. The operation ended around 10.00. All 10 bodies of the victims were recovered. According to the Polumbars, some died instantly and were found inside the van, in the front seats, sitting on the seat and dead; while others were found at a distance of about 50 meters from the van. They announced that the operation was quick because the waters of Kiri are clear and they had a clear vision during the entire work. Six of the victims of this tragic event are from the villages of Shale municipality: Pjetër Leka and Gjok Uka-from the village of Nenmavriq, Mark Ndrethi, with his young wife Zojen and Gjergj Lulashi, his brother’s son-from the village of Nicaj, and Shkurte Bregu-from the village of Breglumi . Four are from the municipality of Pult: Kolë Doda, Kushe Doda, with her daughter Elsa-13 years old and Kristian Bregu-from the village of Xhan. The mayor of Pult municipality, Mr. Sokol Cubi, the mayor of Shalë municipality, Mr. Dede Tonaj, the mayor of Shosh municipality, Mr. Mark Kulla, the deputy of the area, Mr. Astrit Bushati, the prefect of Shkodër District, were present at the scene that day. Mr. Maxhit Cungu, the General Director of the State Police, Mr. Bajram Ibraj and the director of the Shkodër District Police, Mr. Ahmet Premçi”.
The accident on August 8, 2014, as well as four other accidents that happened later in the same place, where 9 other people lost their lives
The event of August 10, 1985, with the fatal accident where 28 people died and 36 others were injured, as well as that of March 12, 2007, where another 10 people lost their lives, unfortunately would not be the only events that occurred along the Dukagjin-Shkodër national road, as in the Kir-Prekal segment of that road, there were five more serious car accidents, where 9 more people died. Thus, on August 8, 2014, 35-year-old Pëllumb Mark Muri died there, together with an Italian citizen, his friend, and a few months later, four more accidents occurred, with 7 deaths, thus bringing the figure to victims, 47 people in total. All dead on that road segment in the Kir-Pult area.
The state remained silent, while the local highlanders have placed a memorial plaque for the 47 victims
As we pointed out at the beginning of this article, the communist regime before the 90s never made public the names of the 28 victims of the fatal accident on August 10, 1985, as well as the other 36 injured, (where 25 victims were all residents of the deep area of Dukagjini, while Dodë Miri, Sulejman Hasmuja and Imer Ibra, were from Malësia e Madhe and cadres with management duties in the Agricultural Cooperative of Dukagjini), thereby casting doubt on the true number of victims and to the injured of that tragic accident. But what the state of that time could not do, i.e. the publication of the names of the victims and the injured from that car accident, was done by the mountaineers of those parts, family members and relatives of the victims, who in the place where those accidents happened ( in the Kir-Pult-Prekal segment), they have placed several stones and commemorative plaques, where they have engraved not only the generality of the 28 victims of the event of August 10, 1985, but also those of six other accidents that occurred on March 12, 2014 , August 8, 2017, and after, commemorating all 47 victims who lost their lives in that very place. Memorie.al