Afghan migrant shot dead by Bulgarian guards

  • 16/10/2015

An Afghan migrant has been shot by Bulgarian border guards while trying to cross from Turkey and died on his way to hospital, the interior ministry says.

It was the first known deadly police shooting since the beginning of the crisis which has seen an influx of hundreds of thousands migrants into Europe, and came as the EU and Turkey reached a deal to stem the flow.

The victim was among of a group of 54 migrants spotted by a patrol near the southeastern town of Sredets close to the Turkish border late on Thursday (local time), said a senior official at the interior ministry, Georgy Kostov.

They "did not obey" a police order to stop, he said on Friday. "None of the migrants were armed, but they put up resistance."

Patrol officers had fired in the air and "a migrant was injured by a ricochet – according to the testimony of one of the three police officers – and succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital," he said.

The migrants said they were Afghans but had no papers, Kostov added.

The spokesman for the UN refugee agency in Bulgaria, Boris Cheshirkov, called the incident "very regrettable".

He said it was the first case of a fatal police shooting of a migrant on the EU's borders.

The incident prompted Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to leave an EU summit in Brussels on the migrant crisis and fly back home late on Thursday.

A member of the European Union but not of the passport-free Schengen zone, Bulgaria is on the fringes of the main flow of migrants heading to western Europe through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.

The country has however seen tens of thousands of migrants transiting since the beginning of the year.