Three refugees, two from Syria and one from Lebanon, were assaulted by a group of men who took their money and documents in a fast food restaurant in Sofia’s Slivnitsa Boulevard, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said on December 2 2013.
After the incident, which took place just after 9pm on December 1, the three men were taken to hospital and released after medical examinations, the Interior Ministry said. One of the men had a broken nose and another multiple cuts on his head.
Police said that they were searching for the attackers, who were said to have been armed with knives and clubs.
The three victims of the assault, ranging in age from 26 to 38, all are awaiting formal refugee status in the country.
This is not the first such attack in Sofia.
In early November, a Syrian teenager was assaulted by a group of men near the Voenna Rampa refugee shelter in the Bulgarian capital city, and some days later, a Bulgarian of Turkish origin who was mistaken for a refugee was attacked near the intersection of Pirotska and Tsar Samuil streets.
There has been continuing controversy about self-appointed “civilian patrols” by ultra-nationalists wearing black jackets and armbands modelled on the Bulgarian flag who have been patrolling streets in central Sofia against what they allege to be a threat of crime by refugees.
This year has seen a considerable increase in the number of refugees arriving in Bulgaria from the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. After some months, the current government responded with a number of emergency steps, including increasing security at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, the main entry point for illegal migrants.
(Photo: Bart Groenhuizen/sxc.hu)