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Croatia Arrests Former Macedonian Minister

31 August 2004 -- Croatian police today arrested a former Macedonian interior minister accused of ordering the murder of seven Asians who were made to look like Islamic militants.

Ljube Boskovski served as Macedonian interior minister until late 2002. He fled to Croatia in May when Macedonian authorities charged him and six former members of the security forces with murder.

The accused are charged with smuggling six Pakistanis and one Indian into Macedonia from Bulgaria and murdering them in a staged ambush.

They also allegedly altered the crime scene to make them appear as if they were armed Islamic militants intent on attacking Western embassies.

Officials say the aim of the March 2002 killings were to show Macedonia was contributing in the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

Boskovski, who also holds Croatian citizenship, will not be extradited to Macedonia because Croatian law prevents extradition of its citizens for trials abroad. A Croatian judge will decide whether to order a trial or drop the charges.