ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON PRESIDENT KIRO GLIGOROV
An assassination attempt on the life of the President of the Republic of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov took place in Skopje today, a couple of minutes before 10.00 A.M.. The assassination attempt took place on the street "Makedonija," across the street from Hotel Bristol in the city center, most probably while President Gligorov was being driven in the official Mercedes from his home to the Macedonian Parliament, where his cabinet is located.
According to Radio Skopje, the President's life is not in danger, he has only received minor bodily injuries and is conscious.
The assassination was carried out with a car-bomb. The bomb was placed in a parked car Spacek (Citroen Ami 8) and exploded at the moment when the President's Mercedes with a licence plate SK 001 AA was passing by. The explosive was most probably activated by remote control.
Immediately after the assassination attempt, President Gligorov was taken to the City hospital in Skopje, in the intensive care ward, where he was thoroughly examined. Afterwards, he was X-rayed, during which time, as Radio Skopje reports, Gligorov communicated with the doctor on duty, inquiring about the seriousness of his injuries.
According to one of the doctors, the President received some minor flesh wounds to the area of his head, and the small particles that were found on his skin were immediately removed. After his examination in the City hospital, the President was taken to the University hospital at the clinics of the Medical Faculty.
The chauffeur of the presidential Mercedes Aleksandar Spirovski died as a result of the explosion. One of the passers- by Hristo Manov has been seriously injured and is in a shock- room. Two more passers-by Klime Korobar and Jovan Atanasovski, have received minor injuries. Otherwise, Klime Korobar is the director of the Museum of the City of Skopje, which is located in the direct vicinity of the bomb-scene. Furthermore, according to eyewitness reports, there were also wounded persons in the police BMW, which escorts the President of the Republic.
Immediately after the explosion, a vehicle with a Titov Veles licence place was spotted driving away from the spot. After a couple of kilometers, the vehicle was stopped by the police and is still under investigation. Radio Skopje reports that the vehicle is a Renault 25, in which there were 2 male persons dressed in blue suits, who are now being questioned.
Radio Skopje also reports that the "assassins are almost found," without revealing the source of this information, or explaining what it means.
All roads around Skopje are blocked and the police are stopping and checking all vehicles. All border points have been closed, as well.
According to eyewitnesses, the strong explosion has broken all building windows in the direct vicinity.
At present, the President is in the University hospital with the Medical faculty, under the close medical supervision of a team of doctors, led by the Minister of Health Ilija Filipche.
The President of the Republic was visited in the hospital by his wife Nada Gligorova and the closest members of his family. In its latest report, Radio Skopje says that President Gligorov is conscious and communicating with the doctors.
Latest reports say that the ophthalmologists are next in line to examine the President. According to one of the members of the team of doctors, Radio Skopje unofficially reports that the most serious injuries are to one of the President's eyes and that an intervention or minor operation is very likely. In addition, two small pieces of explosive have been noticed in the front part of the President's head. According to the same source, these are the most serious injuries, and the rest are minor compared to these. At 12.00 A.M. Radio Skopje reported that a tomography has been made and that the results are expected. Dr. Jordan Savevski, head of the team of doctors stated that a diagnosis was ready to be set. Dr. Jovica Ugrinovski, neurosurgeon, says that the most serious injuries are to one of the President's eyes, and as concerns the other injuries, they consist of only minor flesh wounds and damages to certain parts of the skin.
The two suspects in the Renault 25 are being questioned in the 5th police station in Skopje, together with the other witnesses who happened to be on the spot.
As an illustration of the strength of the explosion, the windows from the nearby buildings have all been broken up to the ninth floor.
Officials from the Interior Ministry are gathering evidence on the spot.
Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and Speaker of Parliament Stojan Andov paid a visit to President Gligorov in the hospital.