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News 07 Nov 14

'Liberation Army' Claims it Shelled Macedonian Govt

A mysterious movement calling itself the National Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the recent shelling of the Macedonian government building, which hit the roof and walls.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Press release published in Macedonian media.

Macedonian police told BIRN on Friday that they were still investigating a press release published in the media - and whether it is linked with the October 28 attack on the government building in Skopje, when two projectiles blasted holes in the roof and walls.

"On the evening on October 28 the elite force Hasan Prishtina in a coordinated action hit the government building. The time of the attack was chosen in order to avoid human casualties," the press release in Albanian reads.

The document, published by an Albanian-language TV station in Macedonia, Alsat M, is signed by an organization called the National Liberation Army and by "Commander Kushtrim".

It reads that the organization is discontented with the implementation of the 2001 Ohrid Peace Accord, which ended an armed conflict between Albanian militants and the security forces.

The organization calls on international factor to intervene in Macedonia, stating that only the full European and Atlantic integration of the region can lead to prosperity.

The Ohrid Accord foresaw constitutional changes providing greater rights and institutional integration for the ethnic Albanian minority who make up about a quarter of the popuation of the country.

The accord resulted in the Albanian fighters in the National Liberation Army disarming and later forming a political party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, which todays sits in government.

In the absence of other clues, speculation had linked the mystery attack with the recent proclamation of the so-called "Republic of Ilirida".

A few dozen ethnic Albanians gathered in Skopje in mid-September to hear a former politician, Nevzat Halili, read out a declaration of an Albanian "independent republic".

Halili insisted that the new self-styled entity, which according to the map takes almost half of Macedonia's territory, would be a factor of stability in the Balkans.

Last week the media published another press release this time by the so-called "Guard of Ilirida", which claimed it was now patrolling areas in Macedonia where Albanians lived.

Political analyst Sefer Tahiri said the fuss about the Republic of Ilirida had been blown out of proportion by social media networks. He described the "Republic of Ilirida" as something that existed mostly on the internet.

Vladimir Pivovarov, a professor at the Skopje Faculty of Security, told BIRN that the press release does not automatically mean that “we have a new NLA in Macedonia because it might have been made by anybody. It is indicative that this document is released much later than the actual attacks and that it contains no demands”.

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