By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
PODGORICA (Worthy News) – Montenegro’s prime minister has declared a mourning period after at least 11 people were killed in a shooting that shocked the tiny Balkan nation. Friday’s bloodshed came while Montenegro sought membership in the European Union.
Police tried to keep shocked bystanders at a distance here in Montenegro’s city of Cetinje, 36 kilometers (22 miles) west of the capital Podgorica. Investigators were still seeking answers Saturday as to why a 34-year-old gunman massacred nearly a dozen people in this city, which was once home to the picturesque Adriatic nation’s former royal capital.
Officials said the man, who was only identified by his initials V.B. first killed three members of the same family following a dispute. He then left and fatally shot seven residents using the same hunting rifle.
Authorities stressed that the gunman was killed while police searched for him.
State prosecutor Andrijana Nastic recalled that among those killed was a mother and her two children staying at the shooter’s house. “When we arrived, we saw nine bodies, including two children,” Nastic said. She added that another two victims passed away on their way to the hospital. The prosecutor added that “a civilian killed the shooter” after media reported that police had shot the gunman dead.
Officials said that another six injured people are treated in the hospital.
Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic called for three days of nationwide mourning, saying he wanted “to invite all the citizens of Montenegro to be with the families of the innocent victims.”
And Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic stressed that he was “deeply moved by the news of the terrible tragedy” in Cetinje, calling for “solidarity” with those who lost loved ones in the attack.
Friday’s violence could not come at a worse moment for the country. It is in the middle of its highly anticipated tourism season following two years
of the coronavirus pandemic.
With an unemployment rate of some 18 percent and an average monthly salary of under $614, Montenegro counts on tourism and the appeal of some 300 kilometers of azure coastline and world heritage sites to boost its revenues.
These shootings also come while the tiny Balkan nation seeks to join the European Union in the coming years.
The country of just over 600,000 people already entered the Western NATO military alliance in 2017.
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