A Muslim migrant was shot on sight by Bulgarian border guards after illegally crossing the Bulgarian border on Thursday, according to a government spokesperson.
While the rest of Europe creaks and groans under the weight of the seemingly unstoppable wave of illegal migrants arriving at beaches and ports spread across the girth of the continent’s southern perimeter, Bulgaria has provided a novel solution to the problem and made it’s position clear.
“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 spokesperson told AFP.
The fatal shooting happened near the south-eastern Bulgarian town of Sredets on Thursday evening, she said, before confirming that the dead man was a Muslim migrant from Afghanistan attempting to illegally cross Bulgaria’s border.
Public BNR radio quoted the Bulgarian interior ministry’s chief of staff, Georgy Kostov, as saying that the group of 50 illegal migrants – all from Afghanistan – was intercepted by a patrol of two border guards and a police officer after illegally crossing into Bulgarian and European territory.
“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 told the radio.
Initial reports stated the group was armed. Mr. Kostov did not confirm or deny these reports, however he did confirm the Burgas regional prosecution had opened an investigation.
The Guardian reports: This is the first serious incident in the European Union’s non-Schengen zone member, Bulgaria, which has so far been bypassed by displaced people on their way to western Europe.
In a move to buttress its porous 260km (160-mile) border with Turkey, Bulgaria built a 30km razor-wire fence along part of it and dispatched some 2,000 border guards, police and army to guard the rest.
The incident prompted prime minister Boyko Borisov to leave an EU summit in Brussels on the refugee crisis and fly back home late on Thursday.
“Prime minister Borisov informed me just before he left. It shows how important our discussion was … We are ready to help rebuilding of control of our external borders,” European council president Donald Tusk said in Brussels.