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Nov 07, 2007 18:28 EEST
TETOVO (Macedonia), November 7 (SeeNews) – Macedonian police killed four armed gangsters dressed as women on Wednesday after sealing off the border with the U.N.-run Serbian province of Kosovo to hunt down gangs led by two ethnic Albanian fugitives who fled prison in Kosovo several months ago, a Ministry of Interior official said.
"So far we have found four dead criminals but the search continues. We have captured six group members. The identification of the dead and the captured continues at the moment, because of the disguise. They were cought dressed in ethnic Albanian women's clothes. That is why we still do not know if we have managed to catch Siti and Jakupi. Based on an unconfirmed report, Siti killed himself while trying to carry out a bomb attack against the police," Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski told SeeNews.
The operation, which began in the early morning hours, aimed to catch Ramadan Siti and Lirim Jakupi-Nacist, who fled Kosovo's Dubrava prison several months ago. The two were wanted in Kosovo and Macedonia for crimes which included kidnapping and terrorism.
“There were no policemen wounded in the operation. The criminal groups have been broken up, while special police forces are still on the terrain,” he added.
"NATO- led Kosovo Forces (KFOR) troops are heavily armed and ready to shoot in case the fighting spills over into their territory", state-run news agency MIA reported, quoting Kosovo’s media.
The border area has been restless since an armed struggle followed minority Albanians in Macedonia demanding greater cultural and educational rights, as well as representation in the government, armed forces and police.
The guerrillas laid down their arms after the fighting was stopped by a NATO and EU brokered ceasefire, on June 5, 2001. The Ohrid Framework Agreement was the peace deal signed by the Macedonian government and Albanian representatives on August 13, 2001. The agreement ended the fighting and set the groundwork for improving the rights of the 25-percent ethnic Albanians in Macedonia.
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