International Youth Day Is Met With Mass Shooting In Montenegro

August 12, International Youth Day declared by the United Nations in 2000, was designed to draw attention to issues surrounding youth around the globe. However, for the youth of Montenegro, August 12, 2022, will always be known as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Montenegro. The shooting left 12 people dead, including two children. Although mass shootings are a rare event in the Adriatic nation, organized crime and corruption have remained two significant issues plaguing the country, and have taken a toll on the youth of Montenegro and the Western Balkans.

On Friday, August 12, Montenegro Police director Zoran Brdjanin confirmed at least 12 people were killed, including two siblings, aged 8 and 11, the attacker, and six seriously injured in the old Montenegrin capital of Cetinje. According to public broadcaster RTCG, the unnamed shooter was involved in a family dispute and began shooting at the police patrol after police were called to the scene. Ultimately, Andrijana Nastic, a state prosecutor, told Vijesti TV that the shooter was killed by a citizen in the area.

Following the investigation at the scene of the shooting, Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic declared a three-day mourning period following the mass shooting starting Friday evening. “I call on all the citizens of Montenegro to be with the families of the innocent victims, their relatives, friends and all the citizens of the royal capital of Cetinje,” Abazovic said on Twitter.

President Milo Djukanovic also tweeted, “I was deeply disturbed with reports about [a] terrible tragedy in Cetinje. I express my deepest condolences to those families affected and all those who lost their loved ones.”

The mass shooting is just the latest occurrence in the Balkans, as young people have voiced their concern about the current economic and political inequality present in the Balkans. According to a report “Shared Futures” by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the satisfaction level among the new generation in the Balkans is relatively low across the region. Due to the lack of trust in their government and safety concerns, the problem of ‘brain drain’ is an issue in the Balkan region, as the latest Balkan Barometer data reports that 71% of young people from Western Balkans would like to leave the country and live abroad. Given such sentiments, it is high time for the Balkan Government to listen and address the current problems facing their young population, as they hold the key to the future. By investing and securing sufficient policy developments following the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security, which offers frameworks for engaging young people in sustaining peace and recognizes their positive contribution to maintaining and promoting peace and security, the government can ensure a more prosperous future for their citizens, and ultimately their country.