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Macedonian troops killed on border

Macedonian patrol
Macedonian forces patrol the border with Kosovo  

SKOPJE, Macedonia -- Eight Macedonian soldiers have been killed in a shooting incident at a village near Macedonia's northern border with Kosovo, interior ministry officials say.

"A patrol of the Macedonian army was attacked near the village of Vejce," Interior Ministry spokesman Stevo Pendarovski told Reuters news agency on Saturday.

Presidential Chief of Cabinet Zoran Jolevski told CNN that four soldiers and four policemen were killed while they were carrying out a routine patrol.

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The incident is the first since Macedonian security forces quelled a month-long uprising by ethnic Albanian separatists, driving them from hills in northern Macedonia in late March.

It is the highest death toll in a single attack since hostilities broke out a month before the crackdown. Jolevski said the attack was unexpected.

"We don't have any indication [of who was responsible] at the moment. We're just continuing with our normal activities," Jolevski said.

Macedonian troops control Vejce village and the hilly area around it, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) north of Tetovo, the stronghold of Macedonia's ethnic Albanians.



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