On the second day of its official mourning over clashes in the northeastern town of Kumanovo, Macedonian officials arrested 30 suspects for alleged links to the attack in addition to illegally possessing arms and explosives.
According to the Macedonian News Agency (MIA), the suspects will remain in detention for 30 days after being held on Monday.
While 18 of the detainees were Kosovo nationals, 11 of them were Macedonians who lived in Kosovo, and one was an ethnic Albanian who lived in Germany.
A spokesman for Macedonian Interior Ministry, Ivo Kotevski, said that those arrested were members of the dismantled Kosovo Liberation Army.
The investigators believe that this group prepared attacks against “civilians and strategic targets.”
Spokesman Kotevski mentioned that the group entered Macedonia earlier this month with the intention of carrying out terrorist attacks.
The director of the Serbian Military Security Agency (VBA) said that the intelligence services warned their Macedonian counterparts about the planned attacks.
“The Albanian terrorists who carried out the attack in Kumanovo over the weekend had been in that part of Macedonia for a long time. The Serbian security services had alerted their Macedonian colleagues that the attack could happen, but that they believed the notification to be exaggerated,” he said.
“Certain members were from Macedonia, even the south of central Serbia, their shared objective being the creation of a Greater Albania.”
On Monday, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announced the names of five leaders of the armed group in Kumanovo, adding that all of them were citizens of Kosovo.
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa condemned the involvement of Kosovan people in the incidents in Kumanovo on Monday.
They said the attacks “are aimed to destabilise Kosovo and other neighbouring countries by putting to test the peace and security and by putting at risk the life and property of citizens.”
The armed conflict in Kumanovo near the Serbian and Kosovan border started on Saturday when police carried out a raid against an armed group which was suspected of planning attacks on civilians and government targets.
Eight police officers and 14 militants were killed in the operation, while 37 police officers were injured. Streets and houses in Kumanovo were destroyed as a result of the armed conflict.
The attack came three weeks after 40 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo demanded the creation of an Albanian state in Macedonia by partially gaining control of a police station located near the northern border of Macedonia.