sull'orlo del baratro

Ecco, qui ci sono piu' dettagli sulle minacce di NLA di iniziare una guerra
terroristica su vasta scala.

Da prendere assolutamente sul serio perche' questi sono guerriglieri
professionisti in grado di scatenare disastri. La citta' di Kumanovo e'
senza acqua da giorni: nonostante i bombardamenti a tappeto dell'esercito
macedone contro i villaggi sulle colline, per i guerriglieri e' stato uno
scherzo chiudere il rubinetto, cosi' ora ci stanno andando di mezzo 100.000
civili in citta', che devono bere dalle cisterne. NLA controlla Aracinovo,
una cittadina a pochi chilometri dal centro di Skopje, ed ora minaccia
assalti contro l'areoporto, raffinerie, stazioni di polizia ed altre
istituzioni governative. La motivazione ufficiale per le minacce e' la
richiesta di NLA al governo macedone di smettere i bombardamenti nel nord
del paese (*NLA stessa aveva dichiarato una tregua unilaterale alcuni
giorni fa, ma il governo ha rifiutato le offerte di trattative e proseguito
i bombardamenti a distanza).

Fino ad oggi, i profughi degli scontri in Macedonia sono circa 40.000, di
tutte le etnie; meta' sono rifugiati interni, l'altra meta' (perlopiu' di
etnia albanese) sono fuggiti in Kosovo.

Monday June 11, 1:57 AM

Rebels Threaten Macedonian Cities
By MERITA DHIMGJOKA, Associated Press Writer

ARACINOVO, Macedonia (AP) - Ethnic Albanian rebels threatened Sunday to
take their insurgency into Macedonia's cities, warning they would hit the
capital's airport and other targets unless the government stopped fighting
them in the north.

Government troops assaulted rebels who control a reservoir and have cut off
water supplies to the 100,000 residents of the town of Kumanovo in fighting
that left one soldier dead, state television said.

Troops were also encircling Aracinovo, a town just outside the capital
Skopje that rebels seized Saturday, and were waiting for orders to attack,
as thousands of residents fled the town.

``If the Macedonian army offensive in the northern part of the country does
not stop by tomorrow morning, we will attack the airport, oil refineries,
police stations in towns and other government installations,'' a rebel
leader known as Commander Hoxha told The Associated Press.

In a telephone interview, he also said government attacks on rebels
ensconced in Aracinovo - which lies in shooting range of the capital and
its airport - would bring the same kind of rebel retaliation.

Only a few thousand people remained Sunday in Aracinovo, where the normal
population of about 13,000 had grown in recent weeks to 20,000 due to an
influx of refugees, locals said.

Some 7,000 ethnic Albanians fleeing Aracinovo crossed the nearby border
into Kosovo on Friday and Saturday, Astrid van Genderen Stort, spokeswoman
for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Sunday in the Kosovo
capital, Pristina.

Since the eruption of the ethnic Albanian insurgency in February, more
29,000 have fled to Kosovo, she said.

The threat to Aracinovo, an ethnically mixed town about 4 miles southeast
of Skopje, also drove out thousands of Macedonian Slavs. On Sunday, dozens
of them peered with binoculars toward their homes from a police checkpoint
a little more than a mile from their community.

At the Blace border crossing to Kosovo Sunday, hundreds of women and
children lined up for document checks after being dropped off by taxis and
buses. Men accompanying them said they would go back to threatened homes
after escorting their families across.

Ismet Ethemi, 46, said he, his wife and their five children left the
village of Idrizov, south of Skopje, after the predominantly Slav majority
began carrying guns in public.

``They have armed themselves, and we do not feel safe anymore,'' he said.

Meanwhile, government troops used tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships
in an attempt to dislodge rebels holding the reservoir at Lipkovo, about 15
miles north of the capital. A soldier was killed and three soldiers and a
policeman wounded before the fighting subsided in the evening, state
television said.

Rebels cut off water a week ago to Kumanovo, about five miles to the east.
Since then, the population has been supplied with tanker trucks from
elsewhere in Macedonia and neighboring Bulgaria.

Macedonian political leaders met Saturday with Javier Solana, the European
Union's security affairs chief, who urged restraint.

Solana praised a tentative peace plan outlined by President Boris
Trajkovski that officials said includes partial amnesty for the rebels,
deployment of international monitors, a greater inclusion of ethnic
Albanians in state institutions and the ``reintegration into society'' of
rebels who voluntarily disarm.

But the top ethnic Albanian leader, Arben Xhaferi, criticized the peace
offer as ``shapeless'' and demanded an immediate cease-fire.