Five Charged in Killing of Macedonian Fishermen

Posted May 2nd, 2012 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Macedonian police say they have filed criminal charges against five people suspected of involvement in the murder of five fishermen in early April.

Police said Wednesday that the murders at Smilkovsko Lake qualify as terrorism and that the charges will reflect that. They said two of the suspects are still at large.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska announced that police arrested 20 radical Muslims suspected of being members of a terrorist group linked to the killings.

She said the men were arrested in raids near the capital, Skopje, early Tuesday and have been charged with terrorism. She said the 20 detainees have fought against NATO forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The five fishermen, all ethnic Macedonians, were found shot execution-style north of Skopje on April 13.

The murders have raised fears of renewed tensions between Macedonians and minority ethnic Albanians, after a spate of ethnic attacks in March.

Tensions between the two groups have been high since an armed conflict in 2001. The violence ended with a NATO brokered agreement.

Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's population.