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Macedonia: Minister Expects Rebels To Intensify Attacks

Skopje, 6 June 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonia's Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski has expressed fear that attacks by ethnic Albanian fighters will intensify in the coming days. He made the remark yesterday on national television. He said Macedonian government forces are battling fighters who "have no intention of withdrawing from Macedonian soil."

He said the fighters are continuing to gather and are now in the Sar mountains in northwest Macedonia.

He said Macedonia must act to find a solution because the fighters "don't understand the language of dialogue."

Government forces and ethnic Albanian fighters battled yesterday in the mountains in northwestern Macedonia. Army spokesman Blagoja Markovski said fighting was going on later in the day around the town of Tetovo.

Reports said tank and machine-gun fire could be heard from the Sar mountains near the villages of Sipkovica and Gajre.

In the Kumanovo area, the rebels are still in control of more than 10 villages despite several weeks of attacks by Macedonian troops.