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Albanian gunmen wound British diplomats

TWO British diplomats were shot and wounded yesterday on the outskirts of the Albanian capital, only the latest in a line of diplomats to feel the sharp end of the Balkan state's descent into lawlessness and anarchy following the collapse last year of a series of so-called "pyramid" investment schemes in which much of the population had invested.

Vice-Consul David Bicker and deputy Catherine Jones were shot in the stomach and arm respectively by masked gunmen who stopped their car and robbed them on the outskirts of Tirana as the two were on their way back from lunch. Mr Bicker and Ms Jones were taken to hospital but released after treatment. Last month, a European Union monitor was shot and wounded by armed men who took away his car. A Greek officer was stopped at gunpoint and forced to give up his car and his gun.