- 26 August
Skopje, August 27th 2001
It is relatively peaceful in
the crisis area with serious individual incidents.
Serious cease-fire violations have not been registered during the week.
A few shootings have been recorded in the region of the villages Matejce,
Nikustak and Umin Dol in the Kumanovo-Lipkovo region. Also smaller incidents
have been recorded in the Tetovo region in the area of the villages Sipkovica,
Zilce, Ratae and Neprosteno. Macedonian language media report that the
extremist's in the village Neprosteno has burned about one hundred houses
belonging to ethnic Macedonians.
A bomb in a motel, two civilian victims.
On August 26th, in the vicinity of village Celopek, the Macedonian language
media reported that a motel has been destroyed by the extremist's with
the utilization of a vast quantity of explosive, during which two civilians,
ethnic Macedonians were killed. On August 24th the extremist's placed
explosives in the Station for technical assessment of vehicles, situated
on the road Tetovo-Brvenica, as well. The Albanian language newspaper
"Fakti" reports the statement given by the president of the
municipality Brvenica, which claims that ever since the beginning of the
crisis, police forces were stationed in the motel, so the Albanians could
not have access to the place of the event.
Explosives set in a church belonging to the Lesok
The church "St. Atanasij", built in 1924, was destroyed with
a great quantity of explosives on August 21st. It belongs to the Lesok
monastery complex that dates from the XIV century. All Macedonian parties,
the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Islam Religious Community, the Institute
for protection of monuments and other institutions condemned this act
of violence on religious objects. Also, the entire international public
condemned this barbaric act. Macedonian parties and institutions assigned
this act to the extremist's. The Albanian parties stated that they posses
insufficient information regarding the assault on the church. The Chief
of staff of the NLA, Gzim Ostreni, stated that they have not attacked
any religious objects so far. According to the Albanian language media,
the destruction of the church may be a response to the shelling of the
mosque in the village Neprosteno the day before that. The Albanian language
media claim that no one has condemned the destruction of about 46 mosques
in the crisis areas, while the Macedonian language media report that,
so far, the extremist's have destroyed about 20 churches and monasteries.
Explosions in Skopje.
The morning of August 27th, three explosives devices exploded in three
separate parts of Skopje, causing significant material damage but no human
A British soldier died.
A British soldier died in a tragic incident, when, on August 26th, on
the entrance in the city of Skopje, young people threw large stones on
the NATO vehicle during which they caused severe injuries to the head
of the soldier from the British contingent. The Ministry of defense condemned
Two victims dead due to maltreatment.
The Albanian language newspaper "Fakti" reports of several cases
of maltreatment of civilians, ethnic Albanians, by the police forces.
Two of them, one from Saraj and the other from Ljuboten, died from the
injuries. (Human Rights Watch report: Police abuse against Albanians continues
in Macedonia August 22nd)
The blockade of the border crossing with Kosovo
is still in effect.
A hundred Macedonians from the Tetovo villages of Lesok, Tearce and Neprosteno,
organized by the World Macedonian Congress, block the border crossing
to Kosovo from August 18th. A blockade of the border crossing Tabanovce
on the border with Yugoslavia is being announced. Entrance and exit from
Macedonia is forbidden to all vehicles belonging to international organizations.
Eight kidnapped ethnic Macedonians have been set
With the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, eight
ethnic Macedonians that were kidnapped by the extremist's, were released
on August 26th. Four of these, two civilians and two soldiers were released
in Lipkovo. According to their statements the first six days were hard,
after which they regularly received food and were not maltreated. Also,
four civilians have been released from the village Radusa, one of which
a USA citizen.
The Alliance has brought the
decision for the beginning of the operation "Necessary Harvest".
Joseph Ralston, the NATO commander for Europe visited Macedonia
on August 20th, with the aim of gathering facts from the field for the
beginning of the operation for gathering the armaments. The Headquarters
of the joint forces for Europe, on August 22nd, issued an order for the
starting of the mission "Necessary Harvest", after the North-Atlantic
council in Brussels, approved the NATO mission in Macedonia.
The United Kingdom increased the number of its
soldiers to 2,100.
The total number of soldiers that will take part in the operation is expected
to surpass the predicted 3,500. The operation should begin on August 28th
at 8 a.m. with the disarmament of the first members of the NLA in the
village Otlja. The NLA provided a list of 3,500 pieces of different weapons.
According to information by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the NLA
has in its possession 60,000 pieces of armament and about 5,000,000 pieces
of ammunition of different caliber. Greater part of the collected armaments
will be destroyed in Greece and a lesser in Krivolak, Macedonia.
A possible political crisis.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia submitted a proposal for
relieving the Minister of justice from his duty, because he did not in
appropriate time sign the extradition warrant for one Semi Hebibi, who
is presumed to have made the attack on the police station in Tearce and
after which the Macedonian government has signed an international wanted
circular. The Minister of justice stated that all the required extradition
documents were not submitted. The Party for Democratic Prosperity announced
that if their Minister of justice is relieved of duty, they would withdraw
all their Ministers and Parliament representatives.
Population census in April.
The Government of the Republic of Macedonia, because of the actual security
condition in the country, passed a decision that the Committee in charge
of the census to submit a proposal to the Parliament for Amendments to
the Census Law, with rescheduling of the term for April 1st 2002, instead
of October 2001.