Bomb damages office of popular daily newspaper

New York, December 19, 2005—An explosion on Sunday evening damaged the Tirana headquarters of Shekulli, Albania’s most popular independent daily, but staff members escaped injury, according to international press reports.

Editor-in-Chief Robert Rakipllari said 15 staff members were working when the bomb exploded outside the newspaper building, The Associated Press reported. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, nor had anyone made any recent threats against the newspaper. “I’m sure this was some type of warning, but I can’t explain it,” Rakipllari told the AP.

Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced that police were seeking the perpetrators, Deutsche Presse Agentur reported.

Berisha and his conservative Democratic Party formed a new government after winning the July 3 parliamentary elections, but Albania remains a chaotic and sometimes dangerous place for journalists. On December 11, two unidentified men beat Engjellush Serjani, a journalist with the newspaper Dita Jug in the southern city of Gjirokastra, the Tirana-based Albanian Human Rights Group reported.