Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the sensational event that took place on September 26, 1982. Sometime around noon, on the national road Rrogozhinë-Lushnje, after he had taken by force a ‘Taxi’ car, Xhevdet Mustafa , stopped near the village of Zhamë. After climbing a hill, he entered one of the houses of the Sula family, where he would be surrounded by Police and Army forces. These forces were under the orders of the Chairman of the Internal Affairs Branch of Lushnja district and under the supervision of the Minister of National Defense, Kadri Hazbiu, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hekuran Isai, the secretary of the Central Committee of the ALP, Lenka Çuko, etc., who immediately arrived there. Rare testimonies of Kurt Sulë, former teacher and well-known agronomist of that area, who tells the story of that event. Starting from the moment when Xhevdet Mustafa entered the house of his brother, Mersin, armed, where he and his children and brothers were watching a movie on TV. How did Xhevdeti kill the Traffic Police non-commissioned officer, Tomor Zyla and Mersin Sula? The siege of the house by the Police and Army forces, which were under the orders of the Chairman of the Lushnja Branch of Internal Affairs? The arrival of ministers Kadri Hazbiu, Hekuran Isai and Lenka Çuko, their calls for Xhevdet to surrender and his answers, the introduction of Kurti in the house where Xhevdet? He was holding women and children hostage, the conversations between them, the moment when Kurti with his “Belgian” shot and killed Xhevdet, the entrance of the Army armored car, which destroyed the house? The taking of the corpses and their burial the next day with a ceremony, where the keynote speech was given by the highest authorities of the Party Committee and the Executive Committee, of the Lushnja district, Gjergj Velaj and Filip Ndoci. The proclamation of their “Martyr of the Fatherland” in 1986, as well as Kurti’s meeting with the family of Xhevdet Mustafa, in 1993, who did not allow them to erect a monument there, etc.
Continued from the previous issue
Mr. Kurt, did anyone give you a gun?
Meanwhile I saw nearby one of my nephews, Tajar Sula, who had a gun with him. She was a “Belgian,” whom he had taken charge of, as a member of the volunteer detachments. I asked him for the weapon, which he immediately gave me. After I took the “Belgian”, the members of the Internal Affairs Branch and the mayor himself did not want to let me in, but I avoided them and again with a gun in my hand, I headed towards the house, to go inside, from there from that direction I had come out, but I stood for a moment, that I heard those of the Branch of Internal Affairs, who were calling to Xhevdet, to surrender. From all sides were seen people who had taken up positions, there were also many who were standing with guns in hand. There they were commanded by those of the Inner Branch and the officers of the army, who from time to time fired into the air and called on Xhevdet to surrender.
Specifically, who called on Xhevdet to surrender?
The head of the Lushnja Internal Branch called Xhevdet on his behalf, saying: “Go out and surrender, because we have spared his life.”
Did Xhevdet answer his calls?
Xhevdet replied from within: “Or dirty, go out here once to see your face, and then we will talk.” They did not shoot at the house, as they knew that he had held the women and children hostage there.
It is said that Kadri Hazbiu himself came there with Hekuran Isa, did you see them?
Yes, this is true. Around 14.30, after I had left the house, from the back of the house, at the gate of the yard, I saw the Minister of Defense, Kadri Hazbiu with Hekuran Isai and Lenka Çuko.
Were they alone, or with others?
They were accompanied by the head of the Lushnja Branch of Internal Affairs and were surrounded by several police officers, apparently for protection. They had come from the back of the house, on a road that ran parallel to the railway.
Do you remember Kadri Hazbiu communicating with Xhevdet Mustafa?
Definitely, during that time that, as I said, I had left the house, and I was standing very close to them, Kadri Hazbiu told him. “Surrender, Xhevdet Mustafa, that we do nothing.”
Did Kadri Hazbiu receive an answer after those words?
At that moment, I do not remember Xhevdet answering.
But besides Kadri Hazbi, did anyone else call on Xhevdet to surrender?
After Kadri Hazbi, the chairman of the Lushnja Branch, or Hekuran Isai, spoke to him, I do not remember well, telling him to surrender. But I remember the words they said: “We have forgiven the life of Kiço Ngjela, we will forgive you too”.
To these, did Xhevdet answer?
After these calls, Xhevdet replied: “Go out and see your muzzle once, then we will see and do it”.
What about shooting, shooting with a gun?
In addition to the insults he made, he occasionally fired a pistol out of the window.
What about him, was he shot at by the police or other forces that had surrounded him?
No one was shot at him, as they were afraid of killing the children. All the while, the forces that had surrounded the house fired only in the air to scare him. Likewise, I remember that the armored car also fired its ball into the air.
What did Kadri Hazbiu do next with Hekuran Isai?
I do not know what other people did after the calls they made to surrender, because I saw them for a while.
Why didn’t they stay until the end, that is, until Xhevdet was killed?
Kadri Hazbiu, Hekuran Isai and Lenka Çuko, I remember that they left there, around 17.00, accompanied by the chairman of the Lushnja Branch of Internal Affairs.
It is said that during that period of time when Xhevdet was kept surrounded there in the house of your brother, Kadri Hazbiu with Hekuran Isain, through a military vehicle of the Liaison, with a transceiver radio, he received orders from Tirana. You know the thing about this?
I did not see anything, but that day, it was said that during the time they came there, they were connected by radio or telephone with Enver Hoxha, who had instructed them to be careful not to kill the people.
During this time, did Xhevdet release any of the women or children he had held hostage?
Yes, around 15.00, Xhevdet released Mersin’s wife (Shehjen), the mother of seven children who were held hostage inside. He later released a few months old baby, who was taken out of the crib and taken over by his mother, Shehja, who had just been released.
Did you enter the house again?
Definitely, around 5.30 pm, after Kadri Hazbiu had left there with Hekuran Isain and Lenka Çuko, I tried and entered the house again. I could not stay outside when I heard the cries of the children who were there, especially my little daughter, Anita, who was shouting: ‘Daddy, Daddy’. I was convinced that Xhevdet did not want to kill us people in the house. He killed Mersin in vain, because he remembered that it was not Tomorr Zyla. He had us all there, if he wanted to kill us.
Did you have any obstacles from those of the Internal Affairs Branch to enter the house…?!
Not only did they not stop me, but on the contrary, they encouraged me to go inside again!
Specifically, what did they tell you?
Before entering the house, one of the Branch members told me, “Enter the house, for we will protect you from the outside.”
How did you respond?
I told him I knew that myself. As soon as I entered the house, I approached the room where Xhevdeti was staying with the people of the house. I kicked the door and walked back into the hallway, at an angle he could not shoot me. The door opened at an angle close to 45 degrees.
Who opened the door?
In fact, the door of the room was opened by my daughter, 11-year-old Anita, because after the murder of Xhevdet, we saw a bullet wound in the arm, which must have been fired by Xhevdet, when she tried to open the door. Xhevdet was injured and Ramadan’s wife, Shefikoja, who was later released by him, left the house. From the corner that formed the open door, I watched inside the room the children huddled in a corner of the house, where Xhevdet stood between them, had placed a closet to protect himself. From what I saw, at a distance of four or five meters, I raised the “Belgian” and shot once in his direction, at the height of the head.
From the bullets you fired at him, was Xhevdet killed?
I say that my bullet hit him either in the head or in the chest, because after that, he did not react to shoot in my direction, where did the bullet come from.
What did you do after that?
After waiting a few moments, without moving, I went to the window of the other room and called to those outside: Do not shoot, because I killed him.
What time was it in those moments, you remember?
At that moment the time should have passed 18.30. After that, in the direction of the house, the armored car entered, which approached from the north side of the house, to the room where Xhevdet was with the children, and hit the wall, knocking it down to a mass close to two or three square meters. After I shot at Xhevdet, the children inside shouted, “He was killed, he was killed.” After this, many armed soldiers approached the house, and an Army operative entered the corridor, where I was, and entered the room where Xhevdet was lying on the ground.
In those moments, did Xhevdet have signs of life?
I cannot say whether he was dead or not, but the Operative approached above him and emptied a pistol cartridge, all over him, mostly on his head.
In those moments when that Operative was shooting at Xhevdet, was there anyone else from the family in that room?
At the time Xhevdet was killed, there were six children inside, among them the two injured girls, Anita and Violeta. After shooting Xhevdet, the Operative took out the two injured girls, who left for the hospital. After the Operative, another person named A.I. entered, who hit Xhevdet’s body with rifle bayonets, only once, as they did not leave him.
Who stopped him…?!
Someone shouted, “Don’t ruin her face.” At the time Xhevdet was killed, he was only wearing pants without a T-shirt, and his body was all oiled.
What happened after Xhevdet’s murder?
At that time, I approached the corpses of my brother Mersin, Tomorr Zylë, who were still standing there until no one could touch them, for fear of being shot by Xhevdet, and threw a sheet over you. After that, together with three or four others of the Internal Affairs Branch, two of the legs and two of the arms, we grabbed Xhevdet’s body and put him in a military vehicle, which was approaching near the house. I have not seen a heavier man, I say it was over 100 kg.
What about the corpses of your brother and Tomorr Zylë?
Also, then we got in an army car and the corpses of Mersin and Tomorr Zylë, which left for the hospital in Lushnja. While we were riding Xhevdet’s body in the car, I took a talisman from his neck, which I handed over the next day to the Lushnja Branch. At that moment, around 7 pm, hundreds of people gathered at the house. I did not stay there, but left in the direction of the hospital in Lushnje, where the sister-in-law of the two injured children were and the others traumatized by that event, where they were held hostage for about seven hours.
When Mersin was buried, who attended the high officials and what was said there?
The next day Mersin was buried. Hundreds of people had come there, our fellow villagers. Comrades Gjergj Velaj and Filip Boci also came from the District Party Committee and the Executive Committee. In the speech that was read by Filip or Gjergji, (I do not remember well), among other things, it was said: “It was a heroic act of Mersin Baftjar Sulë, born on October 16, 1944, who to save the honor of the family , gave his life by being killed by an agent named Xhevdet Mustafa, perpetrator of 700 crimes in Italy, America, and other countries.The purpose of this agent was to kill the First Secretary of the ALP, Enver Hoxha, but he here in Albania, by the Security weapon and the vigilant eye of the people, he was killed before he achieved his goals … “!
How were you treated as a family by the communist state after this event?
We did not have any special help from the state. For the house that was destroyed by the intervention of the armored car, the state housed the family of the murdered Mersin, in an apartment in the palace (500 m. Away from there), while Ramadan, they made another private house. That was all material help.
What about the family of Tomorr Zylë…?!
In 1986, I met Tomorr Zyla’s brother, Fatmir, who was also a military man, who told me to inquire that he had declared his brother a martyr. So I made the documents and not only Mersin was declared a martyr, but also all those others who were killed by Xhevdet Mustafa. Since then, there remains were taken to the Lushnja Martyrs’ Cemetery, where they are still today.
What is your relationship with Xhevdet Mustafa’s family in Durrës?
We had no problem with them. Only after the advent of democracy, around 1992, they came here to us and said that they would make a tombstone for him, because “Xhevdet was an anti-communist and had given his life with the intention of killing Enver Hoxha.” I did not allow them, telling them that they could not make a tombstone over my brother’s blood. They realized this and left. /Memorie.al