Six Dead, 29 Injured after Macedonia Police OperationSoutheast Europe | May 10, 2015, Sunday // 10:28| views
A Police officer arrests an ethnic Albanian man on the street as Macedonian special forces engage in a police action against an alleged unidentified armed group, in Kumanovo, Macedonia, May 09, 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Saturday's special operation in the town of Kumanovo has claimed the lives of 5 police officers, Macedonian Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska has announced.
Local daily Kurir has added that one more police officer died from his wounds in hospital, thus raising the number of victims to 6.
Another thirty have been wounded, with some of them taken to hospital. Some of the assaulters have been killed, but the number is not known.
This has been the first official confirmation after the shootout in northwestern Macedonia of Sunday. Late in the evening a number of media outlets produced conflicting reports about whether the attackers had surrendered, but it wasn't until later that police confirmed.
Sunday is a day of national mourning in Macedonia, and opposition leader Zoran Zaev has called on protesters not to take to the streets in the evening as the country should focus on the incident in Kumanovo rather than on the past days' demonstrations.
The shootout began after a group numbering between 50 and 70 people entered Macedonia "from a neighboring state," daily Utrinski Vesnik earlier quotes Jankulokvska as saying.
At that time a journalist with Macedonian English-language daily Independent told Novinite it was too early to make speculation as to where the gunmen came from.
Most reports, however, suggest they entered the country from Kosovo. Pictures were later uploaded by agencies of police officers detaining men purportedly of ethnic Albanian origin.
A nationalist organization, the Army for National Liberation, which took active part in the 2001 ethnic unrest in Macedonia which ended with UN brokerage, claimed responsibility on Saturday, but this hasn't been confirmed.
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