by Dejan NIKOLOVSKI
"Every ethnic Macedonian and honorable resident of Gostivar feels humiliated after seeing UCK posters on the main city square. That revolting and shameful act celebrates those responsible for massacres near Vejce, Karpalak, Ljuboten, for beastly maltreatment of ‘Mavrovo' construction workers and thousands of other crimes. We wonder whether Gostivar is still in Macedonia? We went to the police station in the city, guarded by more than twenty armed policemen, to report the incident. They politely thanked us and told us that they were going to check what was going on. However, the following day the posters not only had not been taken off at the main square, but had in the meantime been put up all over the city," says a group of dissatisfied residents of Gostivar.
According to them, the local ethnic Albanian TV stations keep broadcasting footage of UCK, Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) or Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation Army (UCPMB) fighters in action or reports about new monuments commemorating UCK fighters in some village in Macedonia. Residents of Gostivar claim that the local authorities still refuse to raise Macedonian state flags on official holidays, while in contrast Albanian state flags can be seen all the time.
"Residents of Gostivar and the surrounding region are distrustful and fearful because of consistent shooting from the firearms that can be heard every night. These bursts of fire from automatic guns or individual shots are not controlled by anyone, and we doubt that anyone in the country can prevent them. In such circumstances there can be no trust and security among the population," say bitter residents of Gostivar.
Residents of Tetovo and its environs also do not recall a peaceful night. In Tetovo shooting can be heard all over the city. Residents of Tetovo say that shooting starts immediately after sunset. The shooting is so intense that practically there is no difference with respect to the last year when the region was in the midst of a military crisis.
"Last year we at least knew that there was a war and who was shooting at whom. Now, we know nothing. Neither who is shooting nor why. Shots can be regularly heard also coming from parts of the city with ethnic Macedonian majority, as well as in those with ethnic Albanian majority. Everyone knows that UCK members haven't turned over all their weapons. They have kept large numbers of their weapons and are now shooting without control. The same is happening with police reservists. They haven't returned their weapons. Last night, after hearing shots fired from the parts of the city with the ethnic Albanian majority, we could immediately hear shots fired from ethnic Macedonian districts. As if they are competing in shooting," one elderly resident of the city relates with disappointment.
he says that due to shooting, it is not safe to walk Tetovo streets at night and that several recent daytime murders and armed attacks that took place at the city center inspire fear and insecurity among residents of Tetovo.
Ethnic Albanian parents yesterday accused ethnic Macedonians in Kumanovo of "refusing coexistence with ethnic Albanians".
On the other hand, ethnic Macedonian high school students and their parents demand that all ethnic Albanian high school students return to their original schools. They are accusing the Education Minister Azis Polozhani of attempting to ethnically split Kumanovo by separating ethnic Albanian students from their ethnic Macedonian counterparts.
The earlier meetings were organized by the representative Xhezair Shaqiri, also known as commander Hoxha of the former National Liberation Army (UCK).
The earlier meeting was also attended by Musliu, Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and Emrush Xhemaili, leader of the National Movement of Kosovo, an organization of Albanian emigrants, and a high representative of the Albanian emigrants from Switzerland, whose name was not revealed by the sources. At that meeting, according to our sources, Shaqiri demanded from three politicians from Kosovo, with close links with the Albanian diaspora, to exert pressure on Ahmeti and prompt him to fight for regionalization or federalization of Macedonia in the forthcoming territorial division of the country. The demands were supposed to be "in response to the failure to implement the Ohrid Agreement".
Shaqiri, as well as representatives of the Albanian diaspora, according to our sources, were dissatisfied with the attitude of the BDI with respect to the new territorial division and criticized the BDI claiming that the party is advocating new Albanian majority municipalities "only for propaganda reasons". They were also mad with Ahmeti regarding his promise to ethnic Macedonian emigrants that there would be an ethnic Macedonian majority municipality in Tetovo.
If Ahmeti does not accept the demand to back up the federalization, representative of the diaspora threatened to stop financing the funds that pay financial assistance to families of slain and disabled UCK fighters. If Ahmeti accepts the federalization, allegedly in return for additional diaspora funding he is supposed to secure "additional" Albanian majority municipalities, one in Skopje, setting up of Lipkovo as a separate municipality, as well as the formation of Albanian majority municipalities in Struga and Kicevo.
By the way, Shaqiri, an opponent of the recent merger between the National Democratic Party (PDK) and the BDI, has recently announced his intent to re-establish the PDK, even though his former comrades who joined Ahmeti have taken steps to disband the party. He announced that he would stick to the program of the PDK, advocating federalization of Macedonia.
by Igor K. ILIEVSKI
The police searched five persons, all of them Macedonian nationals, and evidence of participation in the attack was found on the person who was taken into custody. So far there is no information indicating that this group has connections with the Albanian National Army (AKSh). After the bomb attack on the Lower Court in Struga, the "Skenderbeu Division of the AKSh" claimed responsibility for the attack. The phantom leader of the AKSh, Valdet Vardari (in translation, wave of the Vardar River), claims that "the AKSh has mobilized all four divisions in order to unify the Albanian nation in one Greater Albania".
"If the international community won't let Albanians fight, it must let them unite," Vardari demanded in an interview published by the Albanian language Skopje daily "Fakti", as reported on the AKSh web site.
Alban Vjosa, political commissar of the "Front for National Unification of Albanians", the mother organization of the AKSh, adds that all ethnic Albanian political parties should work towards the achievement of the ultimate goal - Greater Albania. The AKSh also demanded that "Slav-Macedonian colonists" stop arresting innocent Albanians who demand a part of western Macedonia, which "rightfully belongs to them".
"I have no comment on the AKSh claims made after the attack. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (Police) has information about the existence of uncoordinated armed groups, and we shall see what the investigation will reveal. We are talking with people who may have information about the attack on the court in Struga, and the police has been analyzing evidence picked up at the explosion site," Mirjana Kontevska, senior adviser at the Ministry of Internal Affairs for public relations, stated.
President of the Lower Court in Struga, Nikola Spasevski, said that the investigation of the attack has been "intense". He rejected AKSh accusations that the court in Struga had been sentencing only Albanians.
"It is difficult to find the bomber. It is as likely that the act was carried out by the AKSh as that it was carried out by someone involved in a case handled by the court. This court has never been excessively harsh with defendants and no one has ever been sentenced harsher than specified by law. On the contrary, we tend to pass lenient sentences. Ethnic Macedonians make up half of persons sentenced by the court," he stated.
by Mitko JOVANOV
The Redzepis are ethnic Turks, and in 2001 their neighbor Vajdin Sulemani, an ethnic Albanian, threw them out of their home and took possession of it. Husband and wife, Dzemail and Margijana Redzepi, as internally displaced persons, currently live in one room of the student hall of residence "Pelagonija" in Skopje, together with their son and Margijana's 72-years-old mother. Police hasn't done anything to make it possible for them to return to their home. Sulemani is effusing to let them back, but he has allowed them to pick up their personal belongings.
This is how the Redzepi family describes their tragic story:
"One evening in 2001 we went to visit friends in Tetovo. When we got back, masked and armed individuals threatened to kill us unless we immediately left the village. They did not let us take anything with us, so that we were forced to come to Skopje," Dzemail says.
A Dnevnik team yesterday managed to enter their apartment in Zerovjane. At the police station in the village they told us that they had never heard of any Redzepis, while some of the villagers latter recalled the family.
Garments hung to dry by Margijana Redzepi two years ago, before the family was forced to leave the apartment, are still hanging there. There are another three apartments in the same building, all already bought by Vajdin Sulemani. He wants to get the ownership of the whole building.
"I will not let them come back. I offered to buy their apartment, and they refused. Now, they can only pick up their stuff, before it's stolen," Sulemani stated.
Mirjana Kontevska, adviser for public relations with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Police), stated that she had not heard about that case.
The expelled family disagrees.
"As soon as we moved into the apartment in 1993, we had problems with Sulemani. Consequently, we regularly informed the police about these problems, but ethnic Albanian policemen would always talk to Sulemani in Albanian and never did anything. Thus, he is now the lord of our apartment," Redzepis say.
The case was confirmed by Boge Cadinovski, advisor at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
"We are aware that ethnic Albanians live in the Redzepi family apartment, but we believe that the problem should be overcome through mutual understanding. If the Redzepis are not allowed to return to their apartment soon, the police will react," Cadinovski said.