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FYR of Macedonia: new arrivals dip again

Briefing notes

FYR of Macedonia: new arrivals dip again

28 May 1999

New arrivals of Kosovar refugees in the FYR of Macedonia have again fallen to low levels. After nearly 30,000 arrivals during the long Pentecost weekend (Saturday 22 - Tuesday 25 May) there have been just over 2,000 arrivals since Wednesday. Newly arrived refugees reported horrific stories of recent events in two villages in Kacanik municipality. An old religious leader told UNHCR that he personally buried mutilated corpses of 3 young men killed on 25 May by Serbian paramilitary in Mika village, which he said is now empty (it used to house some 800 Albanians). He also buried a father and son killed on the 26th of May in Dubrava. A refugee woman with six young daughters and a 6 day old son born while she was in hiding told UNHCR that her husband was taken by Serbian soldiers with her two brothers and 3 other men from the village of Bicevac. She does not know their whereabouts.

Most new arrivals are entering at the Jazince border crossing. Only a handful have crossed at the main Blace border post in the last two days, and they said that 6 buses were turned back yesterday at Serbian checkpoints before Blace.

In a positive development, the Skopje authorities have agreed to open a new refugee camp site in north-western Macedonia, near the existing Cegrane site. The new camp, Vrapciste, should be ready in about a week with a capacity of 20,000.