Cheap and easy accessible weapons
The village is full with military weapons that cannot be legalized, local NGOs say
Aracinovo remains on the first spot according to the number of illegal weapons that is in the hand of the villagers, in spite of the measures applied by the police to enforce order in this Skopje village, widely known as a dugout of criminals, smugglers and dealers.
Although the commanders of former NLA (National Liberation Army) from Aracinovo say they have surrendered the weapons, the younger villagers claim the contrary is true.
- I have Chinese Kalashnikov, TT revolver and some other pieces. I do not have license for any of these – says 28-year old resident of Aracinovo.
Whenever he speaks, he blocks his nose and changes his voice, as he is not sure where the recording might end. He is afraid of going to jail.
He says the weaponry is easily accessible.
I bought it from some locals. It is easy to find weapons, and it is not expensive either. I will never hand it over. I do not trust the police, I need it for self-defense – says the interlocutor.
Six men sit in front of “Rinka” sweetshop in the middle of the village. They have all fought for NLA. Their former commander is among them.
- We surrendered the weapons, now we do not need it. If I need one, I can get it anytime. Give me money and I will get you a truck of weapons from Serbia, Bulgaria or Kosovo, wherever you want it from. We still have the connections – says the commander.
He knows the trafficking channels, but refuses to speak of them.
- I tell you based on my experience, seek the weapons from the officials. No one can traffic weaponry without connections with those in power – he says.
The police say the arms trafficking exists, but on a small scale. They still find automatic riffles, pistols and bombs, remainder from the conflict.
- They hide the weapons in the fields, stables or at home. But, since 2003 no one in Aracinovo walks publicly with pistols – say the police officers from the mixed patrol cruising the village.
The non-governmental organizations say most of the illegal weaponry is hidden in this village.
Aracinovo is full of weapons, despite all harvests and amnesties. We are talking about military weapons that cannot be registered. There are around 300 riffles, enough to equip two to three companies – says Andon Davcev, vice president of the National Arms Association.
Police have different measures
Hoxha and teachers teach disarmament
Hoxha, teachers and women non-governmental organizations in Aracinovo convince the population to disarm.
- Through these institutions we want to point out how dangerous is the weaponry. These measures have given results, the shootings in the past three years have been reduced. Where we cannot convince them with words, we use force, say the police officers from Aracinovo.
The police seek ways to reduce the wedding gunfire. Before the feast, they call the host in the police station in Aracinovo, warning him that he is responsible for the behavior of the guests. If a guest takes out a weapon, the host of the wedding is charged.