Ethnic Albanians beat two Romani men in Macedonia

05 September 1999

On August 13, twenty-five Roma from the Bislimi family left the Macedonian village of Raduša, approximately thirty kilometres southwest of Skopje, after two of their family members were beaten by their ethnic Albanian neighbours, according to the Macedonian daily Dnevnik of August 18. Mr Nazmi Bislimi told Dnevnik that the incident began when an Albanian neighbour shouted ethnic epithets at the Romani children who were playing in the yard. Mr Bislimi answered the taunts and the neighbour and seven other men from his family then reportedly physically attacked Mr Bislimi and his son. The attackers beat them with their fists. The father claimed in the article that his son has a scar on his back made by a knife. The attackers told them they should leave or they would be killed. The same evening, the Albanian neighbour's sister once more warned the Romani family that they should leave. The Roma, who have lived in Raduša for twenty-five years, left and went to stay with their relatives in Šuto Orizari, a Romani municipality in Skopje. At the local police station, local police officers reportedly did not believe the story of the Roma. After the intervention of the mayors of Šuto Orizari and Kondovo, to which Raduša administratively belongs, police reportedly provided guarantees for the safety of the Bislimi family, and promised to bring charges against the offenders. Dnevnik wrote on August 24 that the Roma returned to the village. According to the paper, the families claimed that Romani-Albanian relations generally deteriorated in late June 1999, after Mr Amdi Bajram, the only Romani member of the Macedonian parliament, publicly called for Roma to take up arms against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in response to Albanian persecution of Roma in Kosovo.



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