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A Macedonian policeman watches from an APC on the road from Skopje to the northern village of Radusa, where five policemen were injured on August 11, 2001. Macedonia accused ethnic Albanian guerrillas from neighboring Kosovo of mounting attacks on Saturday, even as the government and a local guerrilla leader expressed support for a plan meant to avert a new Balkan war. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
A Macedonian woman, a relative of Marjancho Boshkovski, 28, a Macedonian army soldier from the reserves killed by the Albanian separatists cries over his picture in Skopje, August 11, 2001. Macedonia's foreign minister has suggested tougher international action to help end an uprising by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, saying the rebels will never agree to a plan to hand arms to NATO troops. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
A group of Macedonian soldiers fire in honor of Marjancho Boshkovski, 28, a Macedonian army soldier from the reserves killed by the Albanian separatists in Skopje, August 11, 2001. Macedonia's foreign minister has suggested tougher international action to help end an uprising by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, saying the rebels will never agree to a plan to hand arms to NATO troops. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
A friend of Marjancho Boshkovski, 28, a Macedonian army soldier from the reserves killed by the Albanian separatists, cries as he holds an East-Orthodox cross during a funeral in the Macedonian capital, August 11, 2001. Macedonia's foreign minister has suggested tougher international action to help end an uprising by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, saying the rebels will never agree to a plan to hand arms to NATO troops. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
A Macedonian soldier looks at the funeral procession of his comrade Marjancho Boshkovski, 28, a Macedonian army soldier from the reserves, killed by the Albanian separatists in the Macedonian capital, August 11, 2001. Macedonia's foreign minister has suggested tougher international action to help end an uprising by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, saying the rebels will never agree to a plan to hand arms to NATO troops. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
An old woman, a relative of Marjancho Boshkovski, 28, a Macedonian army soldier from the reserves killed by Albanian separatists, cries in front of his picture in the Macedonian capital, August 11, 2001. Macedonia's foreign minister has suggested tougher international action to help end an uprising by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, saying the rebels will never agree to a plan to hand arms to NATO troops. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
An ethnic Albanian man looks at the debris in front of a destroyed and looted Albanina owned shop in the suburbs of the Macedonian capital, August 11, 2001. Macedonia's foreign minister has suggested tougher international action to help end an uprising by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, saying the rebels will never agree to a plan to hand arms to NATO troops. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
A group of ethnic Albanians look at a destroyed and looted ethnic Albanian owned shop in the suburbs of the Macedonian capital, August 11, 2001. Macedonia's foreign minister has suggested tougher international action to help end an uprising by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, saying the rebels will never agree to a plan to hand arms to NATO troops. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
Both Sides View Macedonia Peace Pact as Meaningles.
By Justin Huggler in Skopje
11 August 2001
At least seven Macedonian soldiers were killed in a land mine explosion on Friday, as fighting with Albanian rebels spread to within a few miles of the capital, Skopje.
As the situation accelerated dangerously out of control, the Macedonian Prime Minister denounced a Western-brokered peace deal as "a shameful capitulation". Ljubco Georgievski insisted the country's armed forces could win a military victory. "Personally I am convinced that with complete unity and avoidance of earlier mistakes, Macedonia has the strength to win the fight for its own defence," he said.
So far the Macedonian army has been steadily losing ground to the rebels on the battlefield. The peace deal, brokered by envoys from the US and the European Union is supposed to be signed on Monday, but that is now in doubt after Mr Georgievski described it yesterday as "a shameful agreement under pressure from Albanian terrorist paramilitaries". His office later tried to play down the remarks, saying he would sign a peace deal.
However, a spokesman close to the Prime Minister said even if an agreement was signed "we will have peace on paper and war on the battlefields".
Hopes the deal would be enough to avert civil war had been dwindling fast even before Mr Georgievski's conflicting signals yesterday. Since the two sides tentatively agreed to the deal on Wednesday, a Nato-brokered ceasefire has broken down completely and the rate of killing has risen rapidly.
The Macedonian Foreign Minister, Ilinka Mitreva, appealed for help yesterday, in a dramatic open letter to international leaders. "Macedonia is facing the threat of civil war," she wrote. "We must not allow Macedonia to perish in flames."
A prominent commander of the rebel National Liberation Army (NLA), known as Sokoli said he saw no reason for the guerrillas to disarm, as envisaged under the West's peace plan. "The situation is worsening and we are ready for everything," he said.
Other rebel leaders were still insisting they would respect a deal. Up to 1,800 British troops are on stand-by to travel to Macedonia as part of a Nato task force to collect rebel weapons if a deal can be put into effect.
The deaths of at least seven soldiers yesterday, after their vehicle ran over land mines on a country road outside Skopje, was the second incident to involve heavy Macedonian casualties in just three days. Fighting broke out around the villages of Ljuboten and Ljubanci, just six miles (10km) from Skopje, after the incident. Albanians in Ljuboten claimed at least one house in the village was levelled by Macedonian helicopters.
The Macedonian government accused the NLA, which is occupying large swaths of the country, of laying the land mines on a road known to be regularly used by troops.
A little known rebel group called the Albanian National Army yesterday claimed responsibility for the killings of 10 Macedonian soldiers ambushed on Wednesday. The men were buried yesterday in their home town of Prilep. This second group has been known in Macedonia since at least last year, when it claimed responsibility for murdering three Macedonian police officers long before the current crisis began.
Rebels and security forces fought an intense battle on Thursday for control of Tetovo, most of which has been in rebel hands since earlier fighting. The city was quieter yesterday, with reports of only sporadic shooting, and the rebels were still firmly in control in many areas.
With the battle for Tetovo, it appears lines may be being drawn for the conflict and for some possible future division of the country. Minority groups are being "ethnically cleansed" Macedonians intimidated into leaving Tetovo in rebel hands, Albanians threatened and warned to flee government-held areas.
NATO-led peacekeepers arrested a Bosnian Serb army colonel on Friday who commanded a brigade in eastern Bosnia during the 1992-5 war, the Bosnian Serb interior ministry said.
Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic, still a serving member of the Bosnian Serb army, was arrested in the Banja Luka area.
Kosovo Troops Openly Attack Macedonia.
In the last five hours, Kosovo Protective Corpus in a large number, crossed the border, and started attacking the Macedonian Police troops located in the village of Radusha!
One thing is not clear: If NATO troops were supposed to protect the MacedoniaKosovo border, how and why is possible for the Kosovo Troops to cross the border and openly attack Macedonia.
Editors comment: It is well known that, or if you prefer a public secret, that the Kosovars were actively participating and helping the terrorists in performing the crimes against humanity, torturing the Macedonian and the local Albanian civilians, smuggling drugs, weapons, and all other criminal activities against Macedonia.
With a lot of help from the Albanians in the Macedonian government, Macedonia was El Dorado, the promised gangland for these people.
When will the International public admit that the pour Albanian people that the whole world was defending, now are the same criminals, the same murderers wanted internationally for crimes, are now attacking Macedonia!
Our only fault was that we were blind and na´ve to see, that while we the Macedonians were making efforts to help the poor refugees from Kosovo, making efforts to create a multiethnic community, the Albanians were preparing for WAR!
Our only guilt is that we were too much of intellectuals to realize whom are we dealing with!
Macedonia braced for all-out war in Skopje.
the Irish Times
From Nicholas Wood
MACEDONIA: Macedonia's security forces lost seven more soldiers yesterday, killed when their truck struck two landmines outside the capital, Skopje.
The attack, believed to have been launched by ethnic Albanian guerrillas, came just two days after the ambush of an army convoy in which 10 soldiers were killed, making this week the bloodiest yet in the conflict.
The explosion took place on a dirt road five miles north of the city.
Six soldiers died in the initial blast at 8 a.m. A seventh died on the way to hospital.
The deaths became immediate fuel for government hardliners who are in favour of waging an all-out war against the ethnic Albanian guerrilla group the National Liberation Army (NLA, or, in Albanian, the UCK).
The Prime Minister, Mr Ljuko Georgievski, issued a statement saying Macedonia was capable of defeating the gunmen.
"Personally, I am convinced that with complete unity, and an avoidance of earlier mistakes, Macedonia has the strength to win the fight for its own defence," he said.
But later, the prime minister's office denied that Mr Georgievski had distanced himself from the peace deal.
"On the contrary, he is prepared, together with the other political leaders, to put his signature to the final agreement on Monday so the international public can get a clearer picture of who stands for peace and who stands for war in Macedonia," an official told Reuters.
An army spokesman said he believed the mines were "most probably laid on Thursday night or early on Friday".
Another spokesman said the mines had been laid on top of each other for maximum impact.
The troops had been on their way to replace a post on the border with Kosovo. Nine soldiers were injured.
The increased violence is also eroding hopes for a political settlement aimed at ending the crisis. A signing ceremony is due to take place on Monday, paving the way for Nato troops to come into the country to help disarm the rebel army.
Mr Georgievski's spokesman, Mr Antonio Milososki, said the NLA was clearly opposed to the peace deal.
"Instead of backing the peace agreement, the NLA is trying to find a reason to refuse it. The UCK is prepared to make a funeral of the peace agreement. This is a proposal for war," he said.
In Skopje, police were preparing for protests outside the parliament in reaction to the latest killings.
A curfew was announced for 9 p.m. Previous attacks have seen violent mobs run through the city centre, attacking Albanian businesses and Western institutions.
Before yesterday's mine attack, much of the country's attention had been focused on Prilep, in central Macedonia, home to several of the reservist soldiers killed in Wednesday's ambush.
Two funerals were held yesterday afternoon. The mother of one of the dead solders told Reuters: "I know he was not afraid. I want it to be mentioned in history: my child was a hero and he died heroically, and that's why he will live for ever."
State Dept. Says Leave Macedonia.
The Associated Press
Saturday, Aug. 11, 2001; 2:12 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON The State Department says Americans should leave Macedonia, where government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels have been fighting for six months.
The department has ordered nonemergency, embassy personnel and the dependents of embassy workers, to leave. U.S. citizens have been warned to defer all travel there.
"Amid a climate of rising anti-foreigner sentiment, there has been an increase in acts of intimidation and violence against American citizens in Macedonia," says a travel warning issued late Friday.
American officials who remain in the capital of Skopje have been placed under a curfew. They were urged to "maintain a low profile, avoid crowds and demonstrations, monitor local news sources, and vary routes and times for all required travel."
U.S. Troops Seize Kosovo Weapons.
The Associated Press
Saturday, Aug. 11, 2001; 8:29 a.m. EDT
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia U.S. soldiers serving with NATO-led peacekeepers seized a weapons cache and arrested 17 people in an eight-hour sweep of Kosovo villages near the Macedonian border, U.S. forces said Saturday.
The weapons cache was found Friday after scouring houses, barns and sheds in the villages of Donja Stubla and Goden, a U.S. Army statement said.
The cache included 20 assault rifles, 2,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 104 pairs of boots, uniforms and other material.
"Our soldiers will search every corner of Kosovo to prevent the return of violence and chaos," said Maj. Randy Martin, a spokesman for the U.S. forces.
U.S. peacekeepers have been stepping up operations trying to stem the flow of weapons from the southern Serb province of Kosovo under U.N. and NATO control to ethnic Albanian guerrillas in neighboring Macedonia.
Ethnic Albanian militants took up arms in February saying they want more rights for their community, which accounts for up to a third of the Macedonia's population of 2 million.
HARDEST ALBANIAN TERRORIST ATTACK ON TETOVO SO FAR.
By Pero Sardzhoski,
our exclusive correspondent from Tetovo
Tetovo, August 11, 2001
I was coming back from a friend's house with another friend just before the shooting started. The other guy, who lives near the Army Camp, was caught in the middle of a battle. This was the harshest attempt that the terrorist gave to occupy Tetovo.
The Albanian terrorists (NLA, ANA, or whatever political name they might use) attacked with all their weaponry on Police, Army and civilian objects, spearing no-one.
The attack started at 8 pm and continued up until 11 pm. The town was instantly showered with missiles aiming at areas mainly populated with ethnic Macedonians, the Security Forces positions, and the Army Camp.
About twenty missiles hit the neighborhood around the Army Camp, one very close to a building near by. The terrorists gave an attempt to destroy the Army Camp. The Security Forces responded to the attack vigorously, but the terrorists did not give up. They spread the shootings in the central area, hit many civilian houses, couple of which were burned to the ground in the front line near the football stadium. The terrorists were seen occupying the abandoned houses of the Macedonians in Drenovec, who had to abandon them and are now sheltered at their relatives in other areas of the town, having nowhere else to go. The terrorists were shooting and firing missiles at the Army Camp using these positions. The local TV station KISS was attacked. No information of the damage done.
The terrorists attacked with machineguns, nested in the neighboring houses, causing panic in the local population. People were hiding in their cellars, some of them couldn't find a shelter and were directly exposed to bullets running into their homes. There are civilian casualties. A relative of my neighbor received a bullet in the stomach through the window. He was taken to hospital by relatives in the middle of the fight, who risked their lives to save their cousin's.
Sheltered in my garage, I could hear bullets slashing through the air above us. The missile rain was so intense that we eventually had to go down into the cellar after a couple of explosions in our neighborhood. There was someone shooting at us very close, probably from the houses near the hospital. There have been severe attacks on the villages in the area as well.
Brvenica was one of the harshest, mostly populated with Macedonian civilians. Still no information about casualties or damage done!
There are four civilian casualties and one Police officer wounded.
Two Macedonian houses and one restaurant owned by a Macedonian were burned.
Someone is obviously trying to clear the area and occupy this territory. Once the "grater rights" fighters are now threatening to never stop the war until all the Albanians are united in one country. Even that is not the final goal. These criminals are using the lack of control and stability in this region to create a channel for their dirty businesses of drugs, weaponry and women trafficking, supported by international criminals (but that's not the issue here!). The reality, if anyone has tasted it so far, shows that this occupational warfare influenced and changed, if not threatened and surely even taken the lives of the innocent population who lives in this region. The biggest crime is done upon Albanian population who allowed criminals to brainwash and manipulate them, abuse their national weakness to surrender to the illusion of Great Albanian ethnic country. Thus, misled by criminals and lunatics, the local Albanians who supported the terrorists received some of the most humiliating blows. These terrorists do not spare their own people as well. The facts to prove this are the numerous rapes, tortures or even killings of local Albanians who helped their "liberators". Who has the right to threaten my life in order to fulfill their vague "rights"? A younger student of mine, an ethnic Albanian, after being asked what rights they do not have in this country, once told me: "We haven't got a Disney Land here!" That was so cute I couldn't help laughing. I miss that little boy, he was one of my favorite students!
Fighting breaks out in Tetovo suburbs.
TETOVO, Macedonia, Aug 11 (AFP) -
Heavy fighting between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and Macedonian government forces broke out Saturday in the suburbs of the northwestern flashpoint town of Tetovo, an AFP reporter said.
The reporter said the fighting started at about 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) in the neighbourhood of Recica in the southwest of the town, less than one kilometre from the centre.