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Authorities on Saturday returned to Albania about 1,000 refugees and other border-crossers, some of whom braved gunfire from Albanian border guards, the state news agency Tanjug reported.

The Albanians sent back to their Communist homeland included people seeking asylum and others who just wanted to visit relatives across the border, Tanjug said.Border guards early Saturday fired on about 500 Albanians crossing the border near Debar, a Macedonian town about 220 miles south of Belgrade, said Tanjug.

Five were seriously wounded and could not cross, said Tanjug. It quoted a refugee as saying one Albanian might have died of his wounds.

A sixth Albanian who suffered minor injuries succeeded in crossing with most of the group and was hospitalized in Debar, Tanjug reported.

Tanjug reported another group of 300 entered Yugoslavia further south near the village of Dzepiste and that a second group of 400 had planned to cross from Albania. There was no confirmation of the second group's arrival.

The reported shootings could not be independently confirmed, and there was no comment from the Albanian government.

Tanjug did not give details on when all the 1,000 Albanians returned to their homeland Saturday crossed into Yugoslavia. Tanjug said the repatriations were made under an agreement between the two nations.

Since December, thousands of Albanians have fled their country's suppression and growing economic hardship, apparently mistrustful of the Communist government's pledges to accelerate democratic reforms started last year.

Albania is to hold its first multiparty elections on March 31.