February 4 - February 10 2002

Skopje, February 11th, 2001

Security and political situation

Violence against returning of the displaced persons
On February 10, one ethnic Macedonian died and another was wounded from a planted hand grenade. The killed civilian was brother of the witness of the murder of three policemen in Aracinovo a year ago. The hand grenade was placed on the entry door.

According to police sources, unidentified persons set two houses on fire in the Tetovo village of Setole populated with ethnic Macedonians. The church in the village was also damaged. On February 5 and February 8, two houses of ethnic Macedonians in the village of Opae were also set on fire. The owner of the second house had previously signed an agreement for reconstruction with the non-governmental organization Save the Children. The EU delegation to Macedonia condemned these incidents.

On February 5, NATO ambassador to Macedonia Klaus Vollers paid a visit to Kumanovo. The meeting with the municipality leadership was focused on the security situation in the region and the problems in Kumanovo municipality. Ambassador Vollers stressed that NATO is interested in swift returning of the displaced persons to their homes. As main precondition for this to be realized, he pointed out the police redeployment to the Lipkovo villages. The displaced Macedonians and Serbs from the Kumanovo villages Matejce, Opae, Ropaljce and Dumanovce refuse to return to their homes and to sign agreements for reconstruction of their houses.

...and against security
On February 5, unidentified persons opened fire on a vehicle driven by ethnic Macedonian on the Tetovo-Gostivar highway. One bullet hit the driver in his leg. There was a similar incident at the Tetovo-Skopje incident in which no one was injured.

Plan for police redeployment continues
After several day-long blockades, the ethnically mixed police patrols entered in the Tetovo villages Ciflik and Larce on February 4. The police is still prevented from entering in the Tetovo village of Radusa.

Members of the rapid reactions unit "Lions" started to withdraw from the Tetovo villages Zilce and Ratae on February 6. They are being replaced with other police units. The replacement was carried out in accordance with the Plan for police redeployment to the crisis regions.

Four out of six persons arrested near Trebos released.
Six persons who were arrested near the village of Trebos on November 11 last year have been released. Three members of the Macedonian security forces were murdered in the incident that happened near Trebos. The Court Council dropped the charges for the first criminal case "joining for hostility activity," however they were found guilty for illegal possession of weapons. The court cancelled the detention measure to four of these persons on February 5. The other two are still in detention due to other criminal activities.

The Macedonian government will ask for continuation of the NATO mandate in the country.
 At the session held on February 5, the government decided to ask from Brussels continuation of the NATO mission "Amber Fox" for another three months, with possibility for another continuation of six months. Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski handed over this request to NATO Secretary General George Robertson during his visit to the country.
First meeting of the working group for the law for amnesty held. On February 6, the working group in charge of development of the draft-law for amnesty held its first meeting. This working group was established by the Minister of Justice, Ixhet Memeti. The Law on amnesty would cover not only the NLA members who laid down their arms by September 26, but also those who deserted and those who ignored the draft-invitations during the conflict. Besides representatives of the ministry of justice, the working group also includes representatives of EU, OSCE NATO and the U.S. Embassy.

Course for swift intervention units started.
On January 14, the training course for instructors for the swift reaction units started in the Stip garrison. The course is due to be completed by February 22. The course is attended by 38 officers of the Macedonian army and police. The training is carried out by teams from Great Britain and the Macedonian Army Command. The Albanian language daily "Fakti" reported that the British instructors train a single-ethnic police. Deputy minister of interior Refet Elmazi said that the talks that are led refer to inclusion of the Albanians in the regular police only.

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