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Former Communist Leader In Kosovo Wounded In Attempted Assassination

Azem Vllasi in 2013

A former communist leader in Kosovo has been shot and wounded in what police described as an assassination attempt at his Pristina apartment.

The 68-year-old Azem Vllasi, who now works as a lawyer, told RFE/RL’s Balkan Service that the assailant used a gun equipped with a silencer to try to kill him on March 13.

Vllasi told RFE/RL that his injuries were not life threatening. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police did not say whether investigators think the attempted assassination was related to Vllasi's work as a communist-era leader or as an attorney.

Authorities arrested two suspects and said they found a handgun silencer thought to have been used in the attack.

Vllasi was one of Kosovo’s top leaders during the 1980s when the then-Serbian province was engulfed in protests by ethnic Albanians demanding more rights and separation from Serbia, which was then a republic within Yugoslavia.

Vllasi initially condemned the protesters, but years later he joined the movement seeking Kosovo's independence.

With reporting by AP