NBC Report: Vigilantes in southern Bulgaria still hunting for refugees

Written by on March 11, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on NBC Report: Vigilantes in southern Bulgaria still hunting for refugees

Paramilitary groups, consisting of xenophobic nationalists,who call themselves “patriots”, are still hunting for refugees in the Strandzha mountains, located in southern Bulgaria, illegally.

The American network NBC reports, those vigilantes, dressed in camouflage and wearing ski masks, were part of a group called “BNO Shipka”. According to NBC News, the group’s leader is Vladimir Rusev. He is being quoted saying he was a fan of Donald Trump and he offered him his assistance. Also he told NBC, it was not about the refugees being Muslims. The problem was “a different civilization”, from which they had come from.

While vigilantes like Rusev claim there were tens of thousands of refugees in Bulgaria, the reality is different. The latest government numbers showed there were far less than 10,000 refugees in the country, a few weeks ago.

NBC News also quotes Krassimir Kanev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: “Bulgaria is a transit country, the refugees want to move to [other] EU countries.” According to Kanev, groups like “BNO Shipka” are xenophobic nationalists, violent and racist extremists. “There are ongoing criminal proceedings against a number of these groups,” Kanev told NBC.

The Interior Ministry in Sofia did not respond to questions on vigilante groups, sent by NBC reporters.

A controversy about so-called “refugee hunters”, who have been shackling and beating asylum seekers, has been going on since the refugee crisis began. The former Borissov government praised these groups at first, before reversing course and condemning them.

The latest NBC report proves that those paramilitary groups have not been stopped by the Bulgarian authorities.

Photo: “BNO Shipka” fighters. Source: Youtube.

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus, the founder of foreignersandfriends.com, is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe.