Macedonia : Macedonia clashes ‘signal wider unrest’

Click here: Adnkronos.com – Macedonia clashes ‘signal wider unrest’

Macedonian police clashes with “criminal bands” on Wednesday in which six ethnic Albanians were killed and 13 arrested may signal wider conflict in the region, political and military analysts said on Friday.

…The police said most of the bandits involved in Wednesday’s clashes recently escaped from jail in neighboring Kosovo, which has been under United Nations control since 1999. They bandits had been sentenced for various crimes and Macedonian authorities suspect they were helped to escape by ethnic Albanian guards, several of whom had been arrested afterwards.

But despite Skopje’s insistence on the criminal aspect of the Wednesday shootout, a mysterious Tetovo-based organization calling itself ‘The Political-military organizational committee of Kosovo liberation armies’ said in a statement they were “forced to organise themselves into regular military units to defend the Albanian people and its territories”.

…The unrest in Macedonia coincided with growing support from Western powers for majority ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, who demand independence from Serbia, despite strenuous opposition from Belgrade. A prominent Belgrade military analyst, Miroslav Lazanski, said Kosovo independence would provoke a domino effect in Macedonia, Montenegro and even Greece, which have a sizeable ethnic Albanian minority.

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