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Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 12:27 UK

Four killed in Macedonia-Kosovo border shoot-out

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Four people have been killed in a shoot-out near the border between Macedonia and Kosovo, Macedonian police say.

A spokesman said police tried to stop a van they suspected of carrying arms across the border, when those inside the vehicle opened fire.

Police returned fire and all "four of them [in the van] were killed," said police spokesman Ivo Kotevski.

Police found a large amount of weapons and explosives inside the van, he said.

It has been reported on Radio Kosovo that three of the four have been identified, and that one was an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo while the others were Macedonian.

Smuggling route

The shoot-out took place in the village of Radusa in the mountainous region on the border between Macedonia and Kosovo. The area is largely ethnic-Albanian.

It is known to be a major smuggling route. Two weeks ago Macedonia seized weapons including rocket launchers, mortars, three anti-aircraft guns, and a large cache of explosives, grenades and mines, the AFP news agency reports.

Mr Kotevski said the dead men were wearing military fatigues.

It is not known if they were connected to the National Liberation Army, a former ethnic Albanian rebel group, which claimed responsibility for another shoot-out on 29 April in the border area.

The NLA said a Macedonian soldier was killed in the incident, although the Macedonian government denied that.

The NLA mounted an insurgency against government forces in 2001, demanding greater rights for the country's ethnic Albanian minority.

The conflict lasted several months until Nato helped oversee a ceasefire.



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