26/03/2001 - Trepça.net

Interview with one of the NLA commanders, nicknamed 'Sokoli'.


26 mars 2001 / Albanian Daily "Fakti" Tetova / Macedonia

Interview with one of the NLA commanders, nicknamed 'Sokoli'.
Q: What is happening in Tetova hillside?
A: The clashes begun in early morning hours when a group of Special Forces from Ukraine and Bulgaria was set on action. We have information that they had been surrounded and we expect some of them to surrender, while others are already killed. We destroyed five armored vehicles, three of which tanks. There are many killed and wounded soldiers. So far we have three wounded. Their soldiers are deserting, and this can be seen by the footage of Croatian and Danish TV crews.
Q: How do you know that the Special Forces are Ukrainians and Bulgarians?
A: They, about 30 of them, had been transferred to the fortress with two helicopters. We know this as we could here them talking from our positions.
Q: Which villages are under the control of Macedonian forces?
A: None of them.
Q: Are there any victims in civilian population?
A: I have no information about that.
Q: Were helicopters used in this attack?
A: They had been used for civilian, non-military purposes?
Q: What are your next military steps?
A: We warned earlier that this war or wide military engagement of the Macedonian Army would cause damage to the Macedonian Government first, and especially the Albanian political parties that have not fenced itself from this Government.
Q: How do you comment on the USA promises to offer military assistance to Macedonia?
A: USA are not that naïve to provide assistance to a government that exercises violence and bombards villages and civilian targets and does not wage a war that matches the international conventions.
Q: However, all relevant international factors, especially USA, say they will help Macedonia to protect its sovereignty?
A: That does not mean that their standings would not change. I think they will change soon, as the Macedonian government is using its entire military potential against the civilians.
Q: The Government and the President of RM claim the dialogue could begin after a ceasefire. What do you think about it?
A: We told all the media that we are not the ones that want to expand the war, it is the Macedonian government that wants that. So far we did not attack any civilian target. There is no argument at all, not one argument that would prove that we have done anything of that kind, meanwhile that the Macedonian government is doing that in front of TV cameras.
Q: Do you think of expanding the conflict?
A: If the Government continues in this manner, we will react as we have potentials to do that.
Q: How do you think to continue further now that all Albanian political parties in Kosova, Albania and Macedonia have fenced themselves from you?
A: They have fenced itself for this moment, as they don't properly understand the aims of our war. I think that as of tomorrow, both the international community and the Albanian political parties will realize that we are waging a justified war. We are not threatening any civilian, regardless of which ethnic group he might belong to.
Q: Is it true that you are holding the local population as hostages in Tetova hillside?
A: such claims are nothing else but manipulations. This can be confirmed by foreign informative services that had visited the villages. The local population has abandoned own villages after the attack was launched.