Family of deported Roma girl attacked in Kosovo

Family of deported Roma girl attacked in Kosovo
Leonarda Dibrani (R), the 15 year-old Roma schoolgirl whose deportation from France sparked a huge outcry, sits with her mother Xhemaili (L), her father Resat Dibrani and her sister Medina.

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Kosovo - The family of a Roma schoolgirl - whose deportation from France caused an outcry - has been attacked in Kosovo, apparently over a private matter unrelated to their controversial French expulsion, police said.

Leonarda Dibrani, 15, and her family were confronted as they were walking in Kosovska Mitrovica, where they have been living since they were forced to leave France on October 9.

The girl's mother, Xhemaili, was slapped and taken to hospital, but her injuries were not serious, a police source who requested anonymity told AFP. "The incident occurred between two families, the Dibranis and the Bislimis," police captain Ahmet Gjosha said.

"It turned out that Mr Bislimi was Xhemaili Dibrani's husband 25 years ago and we assume that this fact sparked the incident."

The Bislimi family was repatriated from Switzerland four months ago, he added.

Police said they were taking the incident very seriously. Four people have been arrested and a probe has been launched.

Shortly after the incident a police officer said to AFP that "it shows that the Dibranis are not safe here".

The deportation of Leonarda and her family from France after being denied asylum had touched off mass student protests around the country, demanding that the Dibranis be allowed to return.

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