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Macedonian Police Exclude Mafia From Skopje Murders

April 26, 2012

The murder of five men near Skopje earlier this month was not a mafia killing carried out in retaliation for police actions against them, a senior Macedonian police official has said.

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 26.04.2012

 

Scene of the crime near Zelezarsko Ezero | Photo by: AP/Boris Grdanoski

Ljupco Todorovski, chief of the police’s Public Safety Bureau, excluded a mafia role in the slayings at a regional meeting of police chiefs in Budva, Montenegro.

“Mafia retaliation is excluded as a possibility,” Todorovski said on Wednesday, adding: “We have leads so I think we will solve the case.”

Todorovski’s remarks come after several days of police silence about the gruesome murders that took place on April 12.

The police found the bodies of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski, Kire Trickovski and Borce Stevkovski at what looked like an execution scene.

The latest remarks appear to have ruled out one of two main theories concerning motives for the murders, one of which was that the mafia killed the men in retaliation for this month’s massive police action against organized crime, known as “Detonator”.

As part of the action, police busted racketeering and gambling rings in Skopje and in other towns, apprehending several dozen people and suspending at least 13 police officers for their alleged involvement. More than a hundred gambling machines were confiscated.

The other popular theory blames the murders on members of the country’s large ethnic Albanian minority.

Tensions between Macedonians and the Albanian minority spiraled after a rumour spread that the killers might have been Albanian.

Four days after the killings, several hundred young Macedonian hooligans in Skopje clashed with police, battling to stop them from entering the parts of the capital where Albanians live, seeking revenge.

Police demanded restraint, repeating that no evidence has emerged concerning the nationality of the killers.

One day after the murders, police found a car, believed to have been used by the killers to flee the crime scene.

Todorovski hinted that the police had found DNA material in the car but asked for more time for proper analysis.

Last weekend, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski expressed confidence that the police will find the men behind the slaying. “I have never seen the police so motivated and focused on solving a case,” Gruevski said.

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