Commander Sokoli: If I Were in Charge of Attack, There Would Have Been More Victims in Kumanovo
If I was the commander on 9 May 2015, there would be 200 people killed and not 18. I'm not so naive, Sami Ukshimi said today in court, known as a Commander Sokoli, who is the first person convicted in the case known as "Diva Naselba." He said that the mission of the group from Kumanovo was the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. Sami Ukshimi said he was not a terrorist but a patriot and he came to Macedonia to defend the rights of the Albanians.
Sami Ukshimi on Friday in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court was questioned as a witness proposed by the defense. Responding to questions, he said the organizers of the group which entered Diva Naselba were Mirsad Ndrecaj and Beg Rizaj and, who were killed in the shooting.
On the question of the defense whether it could be worse than what happened, Sami Ukshimi said yes. If you know that a settlement has 32 people, he said, while you are attacking with 900, then you must know that it can be worse.
"If I were a commander and attacked by 900 people, not 18, but 200 would have been killed", he told the Court.
He explained that he illegally entered Macedonia with other people on the night of 1 and 2 May 2015 from Kosovo, through a border crossing that is not recognized by the Macedonian side, and they settled in empty homes in Belanovce. They were welcomed by other people who have give them arms and uniforms bearing emblems of the KLA.
From Belanovce they went in Lipkovo on foot and slept in the mountains. Next day, on May 3, they were taken with a van to Diva Naselba.
He admitted that in 2001 he was in Macedonia, and that he was part of the organization of the war when he was given the nickname Commander Sokoli.
Sami Ukshimi said that on 7 and 8 May he warned Mirsad Ndrecaj and Beg Rizaj that they should leave Diva Naselba as it was already getting risky and told them that they must go. He noted that three days before May 9 a drone was flying over the settlement. According to him, Mirsad Ndrecaj and Beg Rizaj were very naive. They said they would remain in Diva Naselba until 19 May and will convene a press conference to publicly say that if the Ohrid Framework Agreement is not fully implemented, they will defend it from where on September 23, 2001 have left the military, ie will return to the time before demobilization.
The attack of the Macedonian security forces which started on the early morning of May 9, 2015 was dubbed massive. He said that the Macedonian security forces carried the attack with a huge arsenal of weapons and added that it is possible that during the shooting and confusion, some of the police officers to have been killed by their colleagues. According to him, the entire event was politically edited, and Ndrecaj and Rizaj were politically supported by Macedonia.
Sokoli was part of the group that surrendered to the police. He said that prior to them giving in, one of the members of the group phoned OBSE so as they would assure them that they won' be abused and beaten up.
The group surrendered at 7:00 am, and the shooting came to a halt at 9:30 pm.
Commander Sokoli said that they were indeed abused and beaten up, and had he known this, he would not have surrendered.
He said that he feel sorry for the people killed, but added that he is not to blame. Furthermore, he added that he is not a terrorist, but a patriot, and that he came to Macedonia to fight for the rights of the Albanians and a full implementation of the Ohrid Agreement.
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