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FYR of Macedonia: daily arrivals dwindling

Briefing notes

FYR of Macedonia: daily arrivals dwindling

11 May 2001

The number of ethnic Albanians arriving in Kosovo from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is now nearly 9,000, but daily arrivals have dwindled to between 350 and 400 people a day. That's down from a high of 3,500 who crossed on Monday. Most people say they are leaving Macedonia as a precautionary measure, fearing a possible escalation of fighting that flared up on May 3. Some of those arriving in Kosovo alleged that Macedonian border police were charging money for allowing them to leave the country. UNHCR is discussing the allegations with the Macedonian government. There were also reports of villagers being prevented from leaving their homes in mountainous areas by ethnic Albanian separatists, but these reports could not be confirmed independently. Villagers interviewed by UNHCR said some people stayed behind to keep an eye on their property.