A man traveling with a large group of refugees from Afghanistan was shot by border guards near the southeastern Bulgarian town of Sredets late on Thursday and died on his way to the hospital, the interior ministry said on Friday.
“Our border patrol of border guards and police in the area had stumbled on 50 offenders, who illegally entered the country,” Georgi Kostov, the chief secretary of the interior ministry, told national radio BNR.
Kostov said the men were aged between 20 and 30, were “probably” Afghans, and were all detained and in good condition. They were detained and taken into custody while an investigation into the case was launched. The men claimed they were from Afghanistan but carried no identification documents.
“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 BNR.
The BBC reported that Bulgaria's state news agency BTA said that, on hearing the news, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov left a European Union summit in Brussels, where the migrant crisis was being discussed.
“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.
Far fewer refugees go to Bulgaria, Europe’s poorest country, than elsewhere. In the first eight months of 2015, Bulgaria processed 10,600 asylum requests. Most refugees want to leave soon after arriving. Bulgarians were among those arrested in connection with the deaths of 71 refugees whose bodies were found in an abandoned refrigeration truck on a highway in Austria.