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Albanian police catch suspected killer of Czech tourists

Reuters , Sunday 5 Jul 2015
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Albanian police on Sunday arrested the suspected killer of a Czech couple who were shot dead while driving in the Theth area, a mountain wilderness popular with European tourists.

Michael Svatos, 27, and his partner Anna Kosinova, 36, were gunned down on a mountain road on Friday.

The suspect, Sokol Fran Mjacaj, 25, was captured after a manhunt involving 350 policemen, regular and elite forces. He was eventually cornered in a two-storey building.

Police said Mjacaj had confessed to boarding the four-wheel-drive car after threatening the couple with an automatic weapon. After driving for a short distance, a struggle broke out and he shot them both dead, according to his confession. Mjacaj fled, leaving the gun and his fingerprints behind.

Mjacaj left jail a month ago after serving five years of a 10-year sentence for involvement in the killing of a 13-year-old-boy during an attempt to steal his gold necklace in 2010, police said in a statement.

Theth has become a favourite haunt of Czech tourists despite the disappearance there of three youths in 2001, a case that has yet to be solved. Visitors from Western and Central Europe come to trek and camp in the remote mountains, one of Albania's poorest areas until it began to offer basic amenities for travellers seven years ago.

"I want to assure the Albanian and foreign citizens touring Albania they will be safer from now on and we shall be putting at their disposal every necessary service," General Police Director Haki Cako told reporters.

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