AFP Macedonian army reports sporadic attacks overnight
Saturday August 11, 6:00 PM
Macedonian army reports sporadic attacks overnight
SKOPJE, Aug 11 (AFP) -
Macedonia was relatively calm on Saturday morning, after a flare
up in violence the previous day threatened to scupper next week's
planned signature of a peace accord aimed at avoiding war in the
Army spokesman Blagoja Markovski told AFP only "minor
incidents" had been registered near the volatile northwestern town
of Tetovo, where ethnic Albanian guerrillas of the National
Liberation Army (NLA) had breached a July 5 ceasefire seven
times overnight, using automatic weapons.
He said the breaches took place in the northwestern villages of
Gajre, Lisec, Dzepciste, Poroj and Brodec, near Tetovo,
Macedonia's main ethnic Albanian town and the scene of much of
the fighting since the rebels launched an insurgency in February.
Markovski said the army had not responded to any of the
He said in the northern region of Kumanovo, another rebel
stronghold, automatic gunfire had been heard in the morning near
Late on Friday several hundred Macedonian protestors tried to
storm the US embassy in Skopje, further stoking tensions here.
Friday had seen an uneasy calm, after a flare up in violence
overnight between guerrillas and Macedonian forces.
Seven soldiers were also killed by a landmine on Friday. And 10
Macedonian soldiers, killed on Wednesday in the deadliest attack
by the rebels thus far, were buried in the southern town of Prilep in
a ceremony attended by thousands of angry, grief-stricken
The embassy demonstration was the latest expression of
Macedonian resentment towards the West, which the Skopje
government has regularly accused of indirectly helping the rebels.
An AFP photographer at the scene said protestors threw stones at
both the embassy and police but were prevented from entering the
embassy by riot police, who later brought the demonstration under
On Friday Western officials voiced concern that the new outbreak
of violence in Macedonia would scupper the signature of an
internationally brokered peace accord planned for Monday.
An outline agreement was approved Wednesday by the parties
represented in parliament but since then the situation on the ground
has rapidly deteriorated, throwing the signature of the accord into
NATO, which would be responsible for disarming the NLA rebels
under an eventual peace accord, earlier warned against seeking a
military solution to the crisis and urged a return to a July 5
The focus of concern has been the northwestern town of Tetovo.
Rebels control some of the suburbs and are trying to push into
parts of the town.
The rebels say they are fighting for minority rights for ethnic
Albanians, who make up to one third of the country of two million
Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva sent a letter to NATO
Secretary General George Robertson and EU foreign policy chief
Javier Solana on Friday urging greater action against the rebels.
"The patience and the threshold of tolerance of the citizens of the
Republic of Macedonia have been brought to their limit," the letter
The Macedonian National Security Council met overnight and said
in a statement it would "continue decisive action with the aim of
eliminating the threats to the security forces and citizens of