NY Vigil Tribute to Officer Bunjaku

Rafaela Prifti

The candle vigil in honor of the Albanian police officer Afrim Bunjaku slayed in Kosova last Sunday was held at the Dag Hammarskojd Plaza this afternoon. The somber gathering sent a message of support to the family back in Kosova by the Albanian American community by organizers of the event, with some speakers underscoring the potential for further escalation of violent acts by Serbian forces aimed at destabilizing Kosova and the region.

The makeshift memorial with flowers and candles across from the UN visitors entrance was next to the bust of Albania’s national hero Skenderbeg. Echoing somber tones of the ceremony,  leaders and representatives of numerous organizations like VATRA, Plave Guci, Ana e Malit, Malesia e Madhe and others as well as prominent activists expressed their condolences and support for Kosova Police Force and Law Enforcement Institutions. Mark Gjonaj, the renowned community leader, who sent out the call for the vigil, in coordination with Albanian American Council conveyed condolences for the Bunjaku family vowing to honor the name of the officer.  Statements of the attendees were being recorded by journalist Beqir Sina while the event proceeded from the laying of flowers to holding a minute of silence. 

Speaking on behalf of the PanAlbanian Federation of America VATRA, Honorary Chairman Agim Rexhaj said that we stand by the Kosova Police Force and strongly denounce violence committed by the Serb and Russian groups intended to destabilize the country. Shortly after the notification of the killing of Officer Bunjaku, VATRA released a statement on Sunday taking a stand against acts of violence and in solidarity with Kosova institutions.

Lighting a candle at today’s vigil ceremony, Djellza Pulatani, who is the Founder of The F’Oda Summit, a girls’ empowerment initiative, that started earlier this year in Kosova, said: “An attack on any Albanian is an attack on all of us. We must come together to stand in solidarity against such violence and condemn the actions of Serbian terrorists.”

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