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6, June-2001.

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Wednesday.

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MACEDONIA FEW SHOTS AT MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT CABINET.

Makfax

SKOPJE,06.06.2001, (MAKFAX) UNKNOWN PERSON FIRED TWO SHOTS AT MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT CABINET, AROUND 17:50 HOURS, WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. CABINET OF THE MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT, BORIS TRAJKOVSKI IS LOCATED IN THE BUILDING OF THE MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT.

DURING THIS INCIDENT, MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT WAS AT THE MEETING WITH LEADER OF THE SOCIALDEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE OF MACEDONIA, BRANKO CRVENKOVSKI, STATES THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENTS CABINET. NO ONE WAS INJURED IN THIS INCIDENT.

VEHICLE, BLACK COLORED OPEL CORSA WITH BULGARIAN REGISTER PLATES WAS FOUND ABANDONED, IN THE SUBURBAN AREA, NEARLY TWO HOURS AFTER THE INCIDENT. /MAKFAX/

Five soldiers die in Macedonia clashes.

BBC

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The fighting is said to be the heaviest since March.

Five Macedonian soldiers have been killed in fierce overnight fighting in the hills above Tetovo, the country's main ethnic Albanian town.


It is the heaviest toll suffered by Macedonian forces during the ethnic Albanian insurrection since an attack on 28 April left eight soldiers dead.

It also marks the return of heavy fighting to the north-west of the country, after a month in which the main focus of the conflict has been a string of villages in the north of the country, near the border with Serbia.

Army officials said three of the soldiers died during an ambush as they were escorting a medical team to help six men wounded in clashes that broke out late on Tuesday.

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Billowing smoke

It was not clear whether the two extra casualties came from within this group of wounded men, which included three soldiers, and three police.

Ethnic Albanian fighters - who launched a rebellion in February - say they are fighting for greater rights for their minority, up to a third of the population. However, it is widely believed that they want to adjoin Albanian-populated villages to neighbouring Kosovo.

Macedonian officials claimed to have driven the rebels from the Tetovo area at the end of March, but there have been sporadic clashes there in recent weeks.

Macedonian radio said Tuesday's fighting began when rebels attacked army positions near the mountain village of Gajre.

The army used tanks in response and residents said columns of billowing smoke could be seen rising from the area.

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Donald Rumsfeld made a brief stopover in Skopje.

Appeal for help

Earlier, Macedonia asked the United States and western European countries to use their influence to stop financial help from Albanian émigrés reaching ethnic-Albanian rebels.

Defence ministers from Balkan countries are to meet on Wednesday in northern Greece in talks expected to focus on the continued conflict in Macedonia.

On Tuesday, Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski warned of an upsurge in the violence.

"We expect terrorist attacks to intensify in the coming days and we are prepared to respond and attack resolutely," he told journalists.

"We have groups of terrorists who have no intention of withdrawing from Macedonian soil," he said.

Commando plea

The Macedonian Government has asked the US for help in training special military commandos to fight the rebels.

The request was made by Macedonian Defence Minister Vlado Buckovski during a meeting with US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, who made a brief stopover in Skopje on his way from the Ukraine to Kosovo.

The Macedonian minister also appealed to the US and Europe to help stop ethnic Albanian émigrés in the West from sending money and other support to the rebels, a Macedonian defence ministry spokesman said.

After the stopover Mr Rumsfeld flew to Kosovo, where he met American troops.

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