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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 May, 2004, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
'Fake shoot-out' minister flees
Ljube Boskovski
Boskovski is a controversial figure
A former Macedonian interior minister being sought for allegedly ordering the staged killing of seven foreigners has fled to Croatia.

Ljube Boskovski denied any involvement in the incident in 2002 that left six Pakistanis and an Indian national dead.

Officials said that the men were illegal immigrants shot in cold blood to show Macedonia was co-operating with the US-led war on terror.

Croatian authorities have said they cannot arrest or extradite the suspect.

Mr Boskovski holds Croatian, as well as Macedonian, citizenship.

CD 'proof'

"I absolutely deny it, it is not true, the facts show something else," Mr Boskovski told Croatian national television.

"The facts show that in 2002 Macedonian intelligence services were working together with Western counterparts to fight against global terrorism," he said.

"There is a CD-Rom with a taped conversation between the Pakistanis and members of Albanian militia from al-Qaeda in which they make arrangements on an attack against the US embassy in Skopje," said the former interior minister.

Weapons displayed by the authorities after the killing
Authorities displayed the weapons seized from the "militants"
The broadcast did not reveal the place or the time when the interview took place.

According to Croatian law, a Croatian citizen for whom an international arrest warrant is issued by another country may not be apprehended until the case is transferred to the Croatian authorities.

Mr Boskovski disappeared on Tuesday shortly before the Macedonian authorities issued the arrest warrant.

At the time of the incident, the interior ministry said seven militants had been killed after opening fire on a police patrol with machine guns.

Mr Boskovski said the dead men had been planning attacks on vital installations and embassies.

But questions soon began to be asked about the authorities' version of events.

Police spokeswoman Mirjana Konteska said the illegal immigrants, who had been lured into Macedonia by promises that they would be taken to western Europe, had lost their lives in "a staged murder".

'Fake shoot-out' minister sought
04 May 04  |  Europe
Macedonia faked 'militant' raid
30 Apr 04  |  Europe

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