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April Today in Terrorism

April 21, 2015: Separatists carry out siege in Macedonia

On April 21, 2015 40 Macedonian NLA terrorists took over a police station near the border with Kosovo, beat the officers and stole their weapons.

GOSINCE, MACEDONIA – There does not seem to be any limit to regions which seek political independence and groups using violence to achieve it.

Has there ever been any sillier argument than that made by Greece over the status of the nation of Macedonia? In the aftermath of the break-up of the former Yugoslavia there were a lot of nationalist movements seeking to carve out new states out of the former Communist amalgam (‘Yugoslavia‘ means ‘southern Slavs‘). And it wasn’t all pretty: the Bosnian war of the early to mid 1990s sure showed us that!

Many of these groups maintained that they represented longstanding political and etho-national communities that dated back centuries and that they were merely seeking to re-establish what once was. Macedonia is a good example. References to this state go back thousands of years.

And therein lay the problem.

I made a pretty good dictat…er I mean role model, didn’t I? (Photo: By Jean-Simon Berthélemy – kzu.ch, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Greece said that the name Macedonia could refer only to a part of its nation as it was inextricably tied to its history and no one else’s. Not too surprisingly, some Macedonians disagreed. Some used violence to make their point.

On this day in 2015

40 armed men wearing the patch of the National Liberation Army (NLA), a separatist Macedonian militia that had been around since 2001, took over a police station near the border with Kosovo, beat the officers and stole their weapons. Six months earlier the group had bombed a government building in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.

We are from the National Liberation Army. Tell them that neither Ali Ahmeti nor Nikola Gruevski can save you. We do not want any framework agreement and if we see you here again, we will kill you. We want our own state.

Statement made by the NLA

The Macedonian government called this an act of terrorism by a group against its own state. They often say that any state has a dilemma in choosing between guns and butter. I guess the NLA opts for the former.

PS In order to satisfy Greek ‘sensitivities’ Macedonia agreed to call itself the ‘Republic of North Macedonia‘. Whatever.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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