Vejce ambush: Difference between revisions

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| conflict = Vejce ambush

| conflict = Vejce ambush

| partof = [[2001 insurgency in Macedonia]]

| partof = [[2001 insurgency in Macedonia]]

| image =

| image = Vejce Vilage in the region of highland of Sharra -Tetovo Rep.Of Macedonia.jpg

| date = 28 April 2001 at about 5:45 p.m

| date = 28 April 2001 at about 5:45 p.m

| place = Between [[Selce, Tetovo|Selce]] and [[Vejce]]

| place = Between [[Selce, Tetovo|Selce]] and [[Vejce]]

| territory =

| territory =

| result = NLA victory

| result = NLA victory

* [[Anti-Albanian sentiment]] spreads across the country with Anti-Albanian protests and riots across the city

* [[International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia|ICTY]] launches a war crime inquiry in November 2001

| combatant1 = {{flag|Macedonia}}

| combatant1 = {{flag|Macedonia}}

| combatant2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} [[National Liberation Army (Macedonia)|National Liberation Army]]

| combatant2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} [[National Liberation Army (Macedonia)|National Liberation Army]]

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| commander2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} Unknown

| commander2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} Unknown

| strength1 = {{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 8 soldiers<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 8 police officers

| strength1 = {{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 8 soldiers<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 8 police officers

| strength2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} Unknown

| strength2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} 30 to 80 soldiers<ref>{{Cite web |date=2015-02-06 |title=150 Mujahideen fought for the ONA|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150206014434/http://star.dnevnik.com.mk/default.aspx?pbroj=1671&stID=5302 |access-date=2024-04-12 |website=web.archive.org}}</ref>

| casualties1 = {{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 4 soldiers killed<br/>{{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Humvee]] destroyed<br/>{{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Humvee]] damaged<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 4 officers killed<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Lada Niva]] destroyed<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Lada Niva]] damaged

| casualties1 = {{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 4 soldiers killed<br/>{{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Humvee]] destroyed<br/>{{flagicon image|Полк за специјални опрации.svg |border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Humvee]] damaged<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 4 officers killed<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Lada Niva]] destroyed<br/>{{Flagicon image|MVR PEP logo.png|border=|size=22px}} 1 [[Lada Niva]] damaged

| casualties2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} None

| casualties2 = {{Flagicon image|Uck Nla logo.svg|border=|size=22px}} None

| campaignbox = {{Campaignbox Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia}}

| campaignbox = {{Campaignbox Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia}}

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}}

}}

The ”’Vejce ambush”’ or ”’Vejce massacre”’ was carried out by the [[National Liberation Army (Macedonia)|National Liberation Army]] against a [[Special Operations Regiment (North Macedonia)|Special Operations Regiment]] convoy near the village of [[Vejce]] during the [[2001 insurgency in Macedonia]]. During the attack, eight soldiers were killed.<ref>{{cite web |title=8 soldiers slain in ambush near Albanian region |url=https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2001-04-29-0104290288-story.html |date=29 April 2001 |publisher=[[Chicago Tribune]] |access-date=5 February 2015}}</ref>

The ”’Vejce ambush”’ ({{Lang-mk|Вејце заседа|translit=Vejce zaseda}}), also known by Macedonians as the ”’Vejce massacre”’ ({{Lang-mk|Масакрот во Вејце|translit=Masakrot vo Vejce}}), was an ambush carried out by the [[National Liberation Army (Macedonia)|National Liberation Army]] against a [[Special Operations Regiment (North Macedonia)|Special Operations Regiment]] convoy near the village of [[Vejce]] during the [[2001 insurgency in Macedonia]]. During the attack, eight soldiers were killed.<ref>{{cite web |title=8 soldiers slain in ambush near Albanian region |url=https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2001-04-29-0104290288-story.html |date=29 April 2001 |publisher=[[Chicago Tribune]] |access-date=5 February 2015}}</ref>

== Ambush ==

== Ambush ==

On 28 April 2001, 16 Macedonian soldiers and police officers were carrying out a routine patrol.<ref name=”guardian”>{{cite web |title=Skopje peace talks in peril after massacre of patrol |url=https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2001/apr/30/balkans |website=The Guardian |date=30 April 2001}}</ref> At approximately 5:45 p.m., ethnic Albanian militants carried out an ambush on the convoy positioned between the villages [[Selce, Tetovo|Selce]] and [[Vejce]].<ref>{{cite web |title=Macedonia on alert after killings |url=https://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/04/29/macedonia.deaths.03/index.html |website=CNN |date=29 April 2001}}</ref><ref name=”refl”>{{cite web |last=Poolos |first=Alexandra |date=30 April 2001 |title=Macedonia: Ambush Derails Prospects For Truce With Ethnic Albanians |url=https://www.rferl.org/amp/1096325.html |website=Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |title=Годишнина од масакрот кај Вејце |trans-title=Anniversary of the Vejce massacre |url=https://www.slobodenpecat.mk/godishnina-od-masakrot-kaj-vejce/ |access-date=9 December 2023 |website=Sloboden Pecat |date=28 April 2023 |language=mk}}</ref> Out of the 16 soldiers, 8 were killed, half of the total.

[[File:Vejce Vilage in the region of highland of Sharra -Tetovo Rep.Of Macedonia.jpg|thumb|left|250px|View of the village [[Vejce]] on the [[Šar Mountains]].]]

On 28 April 2001, 16 Macedonian soldiers and police officers were carrying out a routine patrol.<ref name=”guardian”>{{cite web |title=Skopje peace talks in peril after massacre of patrol |url=https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2001/apr/30/balkans |website=The Guardian |date=30 April 2001}}</ref> At approximately 5:45 p.m., ethnic Albanian militants carried out an ambush on the convoy positioned between the villages [[Selce, Tetovo|Selce]] and [[Vejce]].<ref>{{cite web |title=Macedonia on alert after killings |url=https://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/04/29/macedonia.deaths.03/index.html |website=CNN |date=29 April 2001}}</ref><ref name=”refl”>{{cite web |last=Poolos |first=Alexandra |date=30 April 2001 |title=Macedonia: Ambush Derails Prospects For Truce With Ethnic Albanians |url=https://www.rferl.org/amp/1096325.html |website=Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |title=Годишнина од масакрот кај Вејце |trans-title=Anniversary of the Vejce massacre |url=https://www.slobodenpecat.mk/godishnina-od-masakrot-kaj-vejce/ |access-date=9 December 2023 |website=Sloboden Pecat |date=28 April 2023 |language=mk}}</ref> Out of the 16 soldiers, 8 were killed. The killed officers [[:mk:Марјан Божиновски|Marjan Božinovski]], [[:mk:Кире Костадиновски|Kire Kostadinovski]], [[:mk:Бошко Најдовски|Boško Najdovski]] and [[:mk:Илче Стојановски|Ilče Stojanovski]] were members of the special police unit from Bitola and the killed soldiers [[:mk:Роберт Петковски|Robert Petkovski]], [[:mk: Бобан Трајковски|Boban Trajkovski]], [[:mk:Игор Костески|Igor Kosteski]] and [[:mk:Миле Јаневски|Mile Janevski]] were sergeants. A [[Humvee]] and a [[Lada Niva]] were destroyed, and other two vehicles sustained damage. According to Macedonian news sources and the [[Ministry of Internal Affairs (North Macedonia)|Macedonian Ministry of Internal Affairs]], the soldiers were [[Mutilation|mutilated]] and [[Death by burning|burned alive]].<ref>{{cite book |title=White Book: Terrorism of the So-Called NLA |date=2001 |publisher=Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia |location=Skopje |pages=112–113; 192–195 |url=http://star.dnevnik.com.mk/whitebook/ |archive-date=5 March 2015 |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150305050513/http://star.dnevnik.com.mk/whitebook/|url-status=dead}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=The Vejce massacre (Macedonian)|url=http://de.scribd.com/doc/46590066/%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82-%D0%B2%D0%BE-%D0%92%D0%B5%D1%98%D1%86%D0%B5#scribd|publisher=Makedonsko Sonce|access-date=5 February 2015}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |last=Changova |first=Katica |date=16 October 2006 |title=Осумкратното убиство кај Вејце сè уште нерасветлено |trans-title=The eightfold murder near Vejce is still unsolved |url=http://star.utrinski.com.mk/?pBroj=856&stID=9235&pR=3 |url-status=dead |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160305113621/http://star.utrinski.com.mk/?pBroj=856&stID=9235&pR=3 |archive-date=5 March 2016 |access-date=10 December 2023 |publisher=Utrinski Vesnik |lang=mk}}</ref>

The killed officers [[:mk:Марјан Божиновски|Marjan Božinovski]], [[:mk:Кире Костадиновски|Kire Kostadinovski]], [[:mk:Бошко Најдовски|Boško Najdovski]] and [[:mk:Илче Стојановски|Ilče Stojanovski]] were members of the special police unit from Bitola. The killed soldiers [[:mk:Роберт Петковски|Robert Petkovski]], [[:mk: Бобан Трајковски|Boban Trajkovski]], [[:mk:Игор Костески|Igor Kosteski]] and [[:mk:Миле Јаневски|Mile Janevski]] were sergeants. A [[Humvee]] and a [[Lada Niva]] were destroyed, and other two vehicles sustained damage. According to Macedonian news sources and the [[Ministry of Internal Affairs (North Macedonia)|Macedonian Ministry of Internal Affairs]], the soldiers were [[Mutilation|mutilated]] and [[Death by burning|burned alive]].<ref>{{cite book |title=White Book: Terrorism of the So-Called NLA |date=2001 |publisher=Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia |location=Skopje |pages=112–113; 192–195 |url=http://star.dnevnik.com.mk/whitebook/ |archive-date=5 March 2015 |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150305050513/http://star.dnevnik.com.mk/whitebook/|url-status=dead}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=The Vejce massacre (Macedonian)|url=http://de.scribd.com/doc/46590066/%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82-%D0%B2%D0%BE-%D0%92%D0%B5%D1%98%D1%86%D0%B5#scribd|publisher=Makedonsko Sonce|access-date=5 February 2015}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |last=Changova |first=Katica |date=16 October 2006 |title=Осумкратното убиство кај Вејце сè уште нерасветлено |trans-title=The eightfold murder near Vejce is still unsolved |url=http://star.utrinski.com.mk/?pBroj=856&stID=9235&pR=3 |url-status=dead |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160305113621/http://star.utrinski.com.mk/?pBroj=856&stID=9235&pR=3 |archive-date=5 March 2016 |access-date=10 December 2023 |publisher=Utrinski Vesnik |lang=mk}}</ref>

== Aftermath ==

== Aftermath ==

According to [[Amnesty International]], the Macedonian government labeled the Vejce ambush as a [[crime against humanity]].<ref>{{cite web |title=Amnesty International Annual Report 2002 |url=https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/0001/2002/en/ |website=Amnesty International |page=164 |date=27 May 2002}}</ref> Per Macedonian news sources, [[autopsies]] were carried out in a military [[morgue]]. Subsequently, news of the deaths fueled local unrest, sparking riots against ethnic Albanians in several towns and cities across Macedonia. These disturbances encompassed the [[burning]] and [[vandalizing]] of [[Retail shop|shops]] and [[mosques]].<ref>{{cite web |last=Sotirovska |first=Natali N. |title=RMK Ahmeti Should Face Criminal Charges For Vejce Massacre <!– BOT GENERATED TITLE –> |url=https://groups.yahoo.com/group/decani/message/60966 |url-status=dead |archive-url=http://www.webcitation.org/5iStunXBl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgroups.yahoo.com%2Fgroup%2Fdecani%2Fmessage%2F60966 |archive-date=22 July 2009 |access-date=9 July 2009 |df=dmy}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=Eight years since the Vejce massacre <!– BOT GENERATED TITLE –> |url=http://www.morm.gov.mk/morm/en/pr/news/8_god_od_vejce.html |website=Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia |archive-url=http://www.webcitation.org/5iStvbxdW?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.morm.gov.mk%3A8080%2Fmorm%2Fen%2Fpr%2Fnews%2F8_god_od_vejce.html |archive-date=22 July 2009 |url-status=dead |access-date=9 July 2009 |df=dmy}}</ref> A war crime inquiry regarding the ambush was launched by the [[International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia]] (ICTY) on November 2001.<ref>{{cite web |title=Macedonia ‘war crimes’ probe |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1667253.stm |website=BBC News |date=20 November 2001}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |title=Blast as Macedonia probe begins |url=https://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/11/21/macedonia.blast/index.html |website=CNN |date=21 November 2001}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |last=Jovanovski |first=Vladimir |date=23 November 2001 |title=Macedonia: War Crimes Inquiries Begin |url=https://iwpr.net/global-voices/macedonia-war-crimes-inquiries-begin |website=Institute for War and Peace Reporting}}</ref> The ICTY returned the case to the local Macedonian courts on 2007.<ref>{{cite web |last=Petrovic |first=Predrag |date=18 September 2007 |title=IN DEPTH: War Crimes Trials Pose Test for Macedonia |url=https://balkaninsight.com/2007/09/18/in-depth-war-crimes-trials-pose-test-for-macedonia/ |website=Balkan Insight (BIRN)}}</ref>

According to [[Amnesty International]], the Macedonian government labeled the Vejce ambush as a [[crime against humanity]].<ref>{{cite web |title=Amnesty International Annual Report 2002 |url=https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/0001/2002/en/ |website=Amnesty International |page=164 |date=27 May 2002}}</ref> Per Macedonian news sources, [[Autopsy|autopsies]] were carried out in a military [[morgue]]. Subsequently, news of the deaths fueled local unrest, sparking riots against ethnic Albanians in several towns and cities across Macedonia. These disturbances encompassed the [[Combustion|burning]] and [[Vandalism|vandalizing]] of [[Retail format|shops]] and [[Mosque|mosques]].<ref>{{cite web |last=Sotirovska |first=Natali N. |title=RMK Ahmeti Should Face Criminal Charges For Vejce Massacre <!– BOT GENERATED TITLE –> |url=https://groups.yahoo.com/group/decani/message/60966 |url-status=dead |archive-url=http://www.webcitation.org/5iStunXBl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgroups.yahoo.com%2Fgroup%2Fdecani%2Fmessage%2F60966 |archive-date=22 July 2009 |access-date=9 July 2009 |df=dmy}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=Eight years since the Vejce massacre <!– BOT GENERATED TITLE –> |url=http://www.morm.gov.mk/morm/en/pr/news/8_god_od_vejce.html |website=Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia |archive-url=http://www.webcitation.org/5iStvbxdW?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.morm.gov.mk%3A8080%2Fmorm%2Fen%2Fpr%2Fnews%2F8_god_od_vejce.html |archive-date=22 July 2009 |url-status=dead |access-date=9 July 2009 |df=dmy}}</ref> A war crime inquiry regarding the ambush was launched by the [[International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia]] (ICTY) on November 2001.<ref>{{cite web |title=Macedonia ‘war crimes’ probe |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1667253.stm |website=BBC News |date=20 November 2001}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |title=Blast as Macedonia probe begins |url=https://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/11/21/macedonia.blast/index.html |website=CNN |date=21 November 2001}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |last=Jovanovski |first=Vladimir |date=23 November 2001 |title=Macedonia: War Crimes Inquiries Begin |url=https://iwpr.net/global-voices/macedonia-war-crimes-inquiries-begin |website=Institute for War and Peace Reporting}}</ref> The ICTY returned the case to the local Macedonian courts on 2007.<ref>{{cite web |last=Petrovic |first=Predrag |date=18 September 2007 |title=IN DEPTH: War Crimes Trials Pose Test for Macedonia |url=https://balkaninsight.com/2007/09/18/in-depth-war-crimes-trials-pose-test-for-macedonia/ |website=Balkan Insight (BIRN)}}</ref>

== Reactions ==

== Reactions ==

[[NATO]] Secretary General [[George Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen|George Robertson]] condemned the ambush, stating: “I condemn the cowardly acts of the extremists and my message is simple: the violence must end and their tactics will not be successful.”<ref>{{Cite web|title=

The [[Secretary General of NATO|Secretary General]] of [[NATO]] at the time, [[George Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen|George Robertson]], condemned the ambush, stating: “I condemn the cowardly acts of the extremists and my message is simple: the violence must end and their tactics will not be successful.”<ref>{{Cite web|title=

Macedonia on alert after killings |date=29 April 2001|url=https://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/04/29/macedonia.deaths.03/index.html|access-date=9 December 2023}}</ref> The attack was also condemned by [[EU]]’s foreign policy chief [[Javier Solana]].<ref>{{cite web |title=Macedonian border deaths condemned |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1302478.stm |website=BBC News |date=29 April 2001}}</ref>

Macedonia on alert after killings |date=29 April 2001|url=https://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/04/29/macedonia.deaths.03/index.html|access-date=9 December 2023}}</ref> The attack was also condemned by the [[European Union]]’s foreign policy chief [[Javier Solana]].<ref>{{cite web |title=Macedonian border deaths condemned |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1302478.stm |website=BBC News |date=29 April 2001}}</ref> Vasiliki Neofotistos writes of “the gruesome event that came to be known as the Vejce massacre” and its aftermath:<ref>{{Cite book |last=Neofotistos |first=Vasiliki P. |url=https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Risk_of_War.html?id=o7YnSqzV7ucC |title=The Risk of War: Everyday Sociality in the Republic of Macedonia |date=2012-03-14 |publisher=University of Pennsylvania Press |isbn=978-0-8122-0656-2 |pages=54-55 |language=en}}</ref>


{{blockquote|”On 28 April NLA insurgents killed eight Macedonian male commandos in the Macedonian Army Special Forces, also known as “Wolves” (Volci), in an ambush near the village of Vejce, nine miles north of [[Tetovo]]. According to the eyewitness account of the only Macedonian soldier who managed to escape the ambush, the assailants were bearded men. The killing shocked public opinion because the reportedly bearded assailants used knives to dig out the eyes and cut off the ears and genitals of the Macedonian soldiers while the soldiers were still alive, and raised once again haunting questions concerning the origin of the people who committed these atrocious acts. The mutilation of the commandos’ bodies, together with rumors about mujahideen groups operating in Macedonia, motivated people to action: in the city of [[Bitola]] (home of four of the commandos), Macedonians formed community self-defense groups; in Skopje, gunmen in a passing car opened fire on the Albanian Embassy and on an Albanian-owned pizzeria, killing an Albanian man; businesses and stores of Albanians and other Muslims in both cities were looted or burned.”}}

Vasiliki Neofotistos writes of “the gruesome event that came to be known as the Vejce massacre” and its aftermath:

According to ”[[The Guardian]]”:<ref>{{Cite news |last=Wood |first=Nicholas |date=2001-04-30 |title=Skopje peace talks in peril after massacre of patrol |url=https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/apr/30/balkans |access-date=2020-04-28 |work=The Guardian |language=en-GB |issn=0261-3077}}</ref>


{{blockquote|On 28 April NLA insurgents killed eight Macedonian male commandos in the Macedonian Army Special Forces, also known as “Wolves” (Volci), in an ambush near the village of Vejce, nine miles north of [[Tetovo]]. According to the eyewitness account of the only Macedonian soldier who managed to escape the ambush, the assailants were bearded men. The killing shocked public opinion because the reportedly bearded assailants used knives to dig out the eyes and cut off the ears and genitals of the Macedonian soldiers while the soldiers were still alive, and raised once again haunting questions concerning the origin of the people who committed these atrocious acts. The mutilation of the commandos’ bodies, together with rumors about mujahideen groups operating in Macedonia, motivated people to action: in the city of [[Bitola]] (home of four of the commandos), Macedonians formed community self-defense groups; in Skopje, gunmen in a passing car opened fire on the Albanian Embassy and on an Albanian-owned pizzeria, killing an Albanian man; businesses and stores of Albanians and other Muslims in both cities were looted or burned.<ref>Vasiliki P. Neofotistos, ”The Risk of War: Everyday Sociality in the Republic of Macedonia” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), pp. 54-55.</ref>}} According to ”[[The Guardian]]”:<blockquote>”They were hit by everything,” said [[Nikola Dimitrov]], then-security adviser to President Boris Trajkovski, current Macedonian foreign minister. “They used hand grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns.”

“He said the guerrilla’s had gone out of their way to disfigure the corpses. “It’s unbelievable, and it’s going to damage the political process. Now it will be so difficult to proceed.”<ref>{{Cite news|last=Wood|first=Nicholas|url=https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/apr/30/balkans|title=Skopje peace talks in peril after massacre of patrol|date=2001-04-30|work=The Guardian|access-date=2020-04-28|language=en-GB|issn=0261-3077}}</ref></blockquote>

{{Blockquote|text=”They were hit by everything,” said Nikola Dimitrov, then-security adviser to President Boris Trajkovski, current Macedonian foreign minister. “They used hand grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns. He said the guerrilla’s had gone out of their way to disfigure the corpses. “It’s unbelievable, and it’s going to damage the political process. Now it will be so difficult to proceed.”|author=[[Nikola Dimitrov]]}}

A leader of the National Liberation Army (NLA) at the time, [[Ali Ahmeti]], claimed that the ethnic Albanian fighters acted in self-defense and were fired on first by the Macedonian patrol.<ref name=”refl” /> The claim was not independently confirmed.

A leader of the NLA at the time, [[Ali Ahmeti]], claimed that the ethnic Albanian fighters had not attacked the Macedonians, stating they were acting in self-defense and were fired on first by the Macedonian patrol.<ref name=”refl” /> The claim was not independently confirmed. The [[United Nations Security Council]] condemned the ambush, calling it “cowardly” and “brutal”.<ref>{{cite web |title=Security Council members, Annan condemn ambush in FRY of Macedonia |url=https://news.un.org/en/story/2001/04/2882 |website=United Nations |date=30 April 2001}}</ref>

The [[United Nations Security Council]] condemned the ambush, calling it “cowardly” and “brutal”.<ref>{{cite web |title=Security Council members, Annan condemn ambush in FRY of Macedonia |url=https://news.un.org/en/story/2001/04/2882 |website=United Nations |date=30 April 2001}}</ref>

== See also ==

== See also ==

* [[Karpalak ambush]]

* [[Karpalak ambush]]

* [[Treboš ambush]]

==References==

==References==

Ambush near Vejce, Macedonia

The Vejce ambush (Macedonian: Вејце заседа, romanized: Vejce zaseda), also known by Macedonians as the Vejce massacre (Macedonian: Масакрот во Вејце, romanized: Masakrot vo Vejce), was an ambush carried out by the National Liberation Army against a Special Operations Regiment convoy near the village of Vejce during the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia. During the attack, eight soldiers were killed.[2]

On 28 April 2001, 16 Macedonian soldiers and police officers were carrying out a routine patrol.[3] At approximately 5:45 p.m., ethnic Albanian militants carried out an ambush on the convoy positioned between the villages Selce and Vejce.[4][5][6] Out of the 16 soldiers, 8 were killed, half of the total.
The killed officers Marjan Božinovski, Kire Kostadinovski, Boško Najdovski and Ilče Stojanovski were members of the special police unit from Bitola. The killed soldiers Robert Petkovski, Boban Trajkovski, Igor Kosteski and Mile Janevski were sergeants. A Humvee and a Lada Niva were destroyed, and other two vehicles sustained damage. According to Macedonian news sources and the Macedonian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the soldiers were mutilated and burned alive.[7][8][9]

Aftermath[edit]
According to Amnesty International, the Macedonian government labeled the Vejce ambush as a crime against humanity.[10] Per Macedonian news sources, autopsies were carried out in a military morgue. Subsequently, news of the deaths fueled local unrest, sparking riots against ethnic Albanians in several towns and cities across Macedonia. These disturbances encompassed the burning and vandalizing of shops and mosques.[11][12] A war crime inquiry regarding the ambush was launched by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on November 2001.[13][14][15] The ICTY returned the case to the local Macedonian courts on 2007.[16]

Reactions[edit]
The Secretary General of NATO at the time, George Robertson, condemned the ambush, stating: “I condemn the cowardly acts of the extremists and my message is simple: the violence must end and their tactics will not be successful.”[17] The attack was also condemned by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana.[18] Vasiliki Neofotistos writes of “the gruesome event that came to be known as the Vejce massacre” and its aftermath:[19]

“On 28 April NLA insurgents killed eight Macedonian male commandos in the Macedonian Army Special Forces, also known as “Wolves” (Volci), in an ambush near the village of Vejce, nine miles north of Tetovo. According to the eyewitness account of the only Macedonian soldier who managed to escape the ambush, the assailants were bearded men. The killing shocked public opinion because the reportedly bearded assailants used knives to dig out the eyes and cut off the ears and genitals of the Macedonian soldiers while the soldiers were still alive, and raised once again haunting questions concerning the origin of the people who committed these atrocious acts. The mutilation of the commandos’ bodies, together with rumors about mujahideen groups operating in Macedonia, motivated people to action: in the city of Bitola (home of four of the commandos), Macedonians formed community self-defense groups; in Skopje, gunmen in a passing car opened fire on the Albanian Embassy and on an Albanian-owned pizzeria, killing an Albanian man; businesses and stores of Albanians and other Muslims in both cities were looted or burned.”
According to The Guardian:[20]

“They were hit by everything,” said Nikola Dimitrov, then-security adviser to President Boris Trajkovski, current Macedonian foreign minister. “They used hand grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns. He said the guerrilla’s had gone out of their way to disfigure the corpses. “It’s unbelievable, and it’s going to damage the political process. Now it will be so difficult to proceed.”
A leader of the NLA at the time, Ali Ahmeti, claimed that the ethnic Albanian fighters had not attacked the Macedonians, stating they were acting in self-defense and were fired on first by the Macedonian patrol.[5] The claim was not independently confirmed. The United Nations Security Council condemned the ambush, calling it “cowardly” and “brutal”.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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