Analysis: Four years on and still no answer on who ordered “Divo Naselje”


Four years have passed since the armed conflict in “Divo Naselje”, a neighbourhood in the city of Kumanovo. The shooting went on for two days, killing eight members of the security forces from the Interior Ministry and seriously injuring forty.

At the same time, among the gun fire, along with eight members of the police force, 10 members of the armed group were also killed.

From the 37 individuals accused of terrorism and being part of a terrorist organization in the events at “Divo Naselje”, 33 people were convicted of the offenses, and four people were acquitted. The criminal court sentenced 8 to life sentences while 13 defendants were sentenced to 40 years in prison. Five defendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison, two defendants received less than two years, and two defendants were sentenced to 14, 13 and 12 years in prison.

In November 2017, the government welcomed an international investigation into the “Divo Naselje” case. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that the international community were informed and that there are ways for conducting an international investigation into the unexplained circumstances related to the events in “Divo Naselje”.

But who and why ordered bloodshed in Probably Naselje has no answer after four years.

The families of the dead eight members of the special forces ask who failed their loved ones. Instead of informing them that they were walking into an ambush of 40 individuals “armed to the teeth”, they were told that they were going to search properties allegedly owned by drug dealers. The dead were posthumously awarded “medals for courage”.

Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski said that it was necessary to investigate whether the incident was organized to stop the broadcast of “bombs”, ie the wiretapped recordings that were being publicly released by the then opposition leader, Zoran Zaev.

“There are indications that it was organized to prevent the bombs, and this should be investigated,” Spasovski said.

For now, the Special Prosecution are not hopeful that they will get to the truth of the matter any time soon.

“There are some clues about what happened and how it happened in the Kumanovo events, however, the SPO has still not found any conversations which it can establish jurisdiction over that subject. There are some clues that are a matter of the preliminary investigation, but it will be very difficult to say whether or when it will be, and whether that case will be taken at all”, says Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva.


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