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Macedonia Wants GIs Held in Brawl to Be Prosecuted

April 14, 2000|From Associated Press

SKOPJE, Macedonia — Macedonia wants criminal charges pressed against U.S. soldiers detained after a clash with residents that left a policeman seriously injured, a police spokesman said Thursday.

Stevo Pendarovski said Macedonian authorities will seek assault charges against American soldiers allegedly responsible for injuring a Macedonian policeman and brawling with residents Wednesday.

The policeman was injured when he tried to intervene in a clash between the soldiers and civilians in Skopje, the capital. He suffered serious head injuries, Pendarovski said.

U.S. military spokesmen said the final decision on what action to take will rest with American military authorities after an investigation.

American troops were allegedly involved in three incidents Wednesday in Skopje. North Atlantic Treaty Organization and U.S. military spokesmen earlier said eight GIs were detained but on Thursday revised the figure to six.

One military spokesman suggested that in at least two of the cases, the soldiers did not initiate violence but reacted to being provoked.

But Macedonia's Interior Ministry said the men were drunk and "behaved indecently, violated public law and order, harassed the citizens and injured one Macedonian policeman."

Macedonia serves as a staging ground and supply route for international peacekeepers in neighboring Kosovo, a province of Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic.

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