SKOPJE, Macedonia – Macedonian police say they have identified three of the five suspected leaders of an armed group that fought with special police forces in the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo in a weekend battle that killed 22 people.
Police said Wednesday they identified the three as Kosovo Albanians. Mirsad Ndrecaj, 35, and Beg Rizaj, 36, were among 14 dead fighters found in western Kumanovo after two days of fighting. The third was identified as Sami Ukshini, a 46-year-old who surrendered with 29 others after the fighting.
The three are believed to have been members of disbanded ethnic Albanian rebel groups that fought Macedonian and Serbian forces in the area in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The clashes were the worst violence Macedonia has seen since a 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency.