April 14, 2012
The killing of four Macedonian young adults and a middle-aged man north of the capital Skopje, has sparked ethnic tensions in a small Balkan country, and police has appealed for calm, local media reported on Friday.
Skopje, FYROM – by Vedat Xhymshiti
Saturday, April 14, 2012 | News Week
The bodies of four youths, aged between 18 and 20 years, were found Wednesday night near a lake north of Skopje, where they went fishing, the police said. Another fisherman, aged 45, was found dead some hundred meters away. All victims had bullet wounds, the police said.
The brother of the dead fisherman told the police the man didn’t know the youths, but was most likely killed because he witnessed their murder. The police was looking for the perpetrators and appealed to local population to help in the investigation.
Skopje media speculated that the killings were a possible revenge for a recent killing of two ethnic Albanian youths in western town of Gostivar. A Macedonian policeman killed two young ethnic Albanians there, after they allegedly attacked him and his minor daughter.
In the meantime, people in the Skopje section of Radisani, the home of four youths, have set up barricades, protesting the killings and demanding a swift investigation and punishment of perpetrators.
The police appealed for patience and calm and called on media to refrain from speculations, which could further inflame ethnic tensions.
Ethnic Albanians make about 25 per cent of Macedonia’s two million population and quarrels between the two ethnic groups have been on the rise. Ethnic Albanians rebelled in 2001, demanding more rights and regional autonomy, but the conflict was brought under control through international mediation.