Macedonian police station comes under grenade attack

SKOPJE, Jan 21, 2000 -- (Reuters) Macedonian police said on Friday unidentified attackers had launched a grenade at a police station in an area of the former Yugoslav republic populated mainly by ethnic Albanians.

"The police station in the village of Oslomej came under an attack last night, when a 64mm grenade hit the garage and one of the walls of the station," an Interior Ministry statement said.

"Additional security measures were taken in the police station in Oslomej after the attack," it added.

The attack came a week after three policeman were shot dead in another village populated by ethnic Albanians, Aracinovo near Skopje. Police said that attack could have been carried out by organized criminals involved in smuggling drugs and arms.

In 1997 there was a series of similar attacks on Macedonian police stations.

Macedonia, which was swamped by ethnic Albanian refugees from neighboring Kosovo during NATO's air war against Yugoslavia last year, has its own large Albanian minority but nothing like the inter-ethnic tensions which built up in Kosovo.

Macedonia's Albanians hold a third of ministerial posts in the government, including the Justice Ministry.

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