Bulgaria detains hundreds of migrants for illegal entry

Prime minister Boiko Borisov urges EU to change border policies after Paris attacks

A girl lays flowers in front of the French embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA

A girl lays flowers in front of the French embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA

 

Bulgaria has detained hundreds of people for entering the country illegally, it said on Sunday, while prime minister Boiko Borisov called on the EU to reconsider its policy on migrants after the Paris killings.

Bulgaria’s security forces have detained 315 people for entering the country illegally and held another 11 over alleged people trafficking, the Bulgarian interior ministry said on Sunday.

The Bulgarian government tightened its border controls on Saturday after the Paris attacks.

However, the latest detentions were made under controls introduced to try to limit Europe’s biggest influx of migrants and refugees since the second World War.

“This is the new September 11th for Europe, ” Mr Borisov said of the Paris killings, adding that European Union countries should reconsider their border policies.

“Every cinema hall, every confectionery shop is a possible target. I hope that there will be a new policy in Europe,” he said.

The interior ministry has yet to decide whether the latest border detainees should be accommodated at a refugee centre or granted refugee status, its press officer told Reuters.

“Some 315 foreigners were identified as illegally residing in the country and detained, as well as 11 people connected with human trafficking, following an operation by the state security agency (SANS) and police in Sofia and several other cities,” the press officer said.

Border patrols

Bulgaria introduced extra border patrols and put more police on duty after hundreds in Paris were killed or injured in attacks claimed by Islamic State.

The interior ministry also warned travellers that stricter controls will delay the processing of documents at its borders with Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia, as well as at Sofia airport.

The Black Sea state expects about 15,000 refugees by the end of the year.

Last month, an Afghan asylum seeker was fatally wounded by Bulgarian border police when a warning shot ricocheted in what the United Nations said was the first incident of its kind in the current migration crisis.

Reuters