Afghan refugee shot dead by border guards in Bulgaria

Bulgarian border guards shot dead Afghan refugee while entering Bulgaria from Turkey

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Bulgarian border policeman stands in front of a barbed wire fence on the Bulgarian-Turkish border July 17, 2014. Am Afghani man as shot by a Bulgarian border police officer on Thursday night.

An Afghan refugee was shot dead by border guards in Bulgaria on Thursday evening while he was trying to enter the country from Turkey.

Bulgaria's president Rosen Plevneliev indicated his "deep regrets" for the Afghan refugee who was killed by Bulgarian border police. He also announced  "This tragic incident ... gives me the opportunity to call for rapid common European measures to tackle the roots of the crisis," 

“A big group of illegal migrants attempted to enter Bulgaria from Turkey. One man suffered a gunshot wound in the incident and died on the way to hospital," an Interior Ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

The incident broke out on Thursday evening in the southeastern Bulgaria, Sredets, close to Turkish border she said.

The Interior Ministry's chief of staff Georgy Kostov told the country’s BNR radio that nearly 50 Afghan illegal migrants were caught by border guards and security forces after they crossed into the Bulgarian side from Turkey.

"They put up resistance during the arrest. One of the officers fired warning shots and, in his words, one of the migrants was wounded by a ricochet and later died," Kostov said.

The UN’s refugee agency called an urgent investigation on the incident. The UNHCR spokesman for central Europe, Babar Baloch expressed “People trying to seek safety across the borders should not be dying with bullets at Europe’s doorsteps.”

Bulgarian regional prosecution launched an extensive investigation on the incident.

A 21-year old Syrian refugee, had been attacked and stabbed repeatedly to death with a knife as two other refugees were wounded on the same day in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, September 13.

Bulgaria has a 269 kilometre (167 mile) border with Turkey. 

After the ongoing refugee flow to Europe, Bulgaria established a 30-kilometre razor wire fence throughout its border and charged almost 2,000 security forces with providing its border safety.

Bulgaria is not a member of the free Schengen Zone and has borders with Romania, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece besides Turkey. The country is also on key route for refugees to make it to top developed European countries like Germany.

TRTWorld and agencies