What you should know about the civil tensions in Macedonia

For all its fame as a safe country, Macedonia is nonetheless stuck in a region that still suffers from ethnic conflict. The areas in the north close to Kosovo are particularly volatile.

In 2010 there were a few isolated conflicts between heavily-armed groups from Kosovo and police. Four men were killed after they opened fire on police during a search. Officers found large quantities of arms and explosives.

While foreigners aren't targeted in such melees, one could get caught in the crossfire or become the victim of a bandit.

Land mines and unexploded ordinance are present in the mountainous region bordering Kosovo, so don't stray off the path. Arm yourself with plenty of local knowledge before trekking into the woods.

Also note that because of this, the border between Macedonia and Kosovo could close to traffic at short notice. When crossing borders, or when near military facilities, keep your camera in your bag. Photography is prohibited.

While the possibility of you becoming engaged in an isolated conflict is highly unlikely, one thing you do need to consider is that politics, and in particular politics relating to Macedonia's relationship with Bulgaria, Albania and Greece, is highly sensitive and discussion relating these topics should be avoided.

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