Bulgaria detected 12 people suspected of links to extremist groups in Iraq – refugee agency

Bulgaria had detected 12 people who were suspected of belonging to extremist organisations in Iraq, State Agency for Refugees head Nikolai Chirpanliev said on September 25. They were put under monitoring by the State Agency for National Security, he said.

Speaking in a television interview, Chirpanliev said that at the agency’s refugee shelters, there were no “dangerous people”.

Since the beginning of 2014, a total of 825 people had been expelled because they did not qualify as refugees.

Chirpanliev rejected allegations in a recent Human Rights Watch report of ill-treatment of refugees. He said that the cases cited in the HRW report had not been proven.

The refugee agency centres in Bulgaria were under constant monitoring by human rights group the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, the Friends of Refugees and other groups that monitored how the state was working with refugees.

Chirpanliev said that the agency had invited representatives of Human Rights Watch to examine the conditions on the ground but so far the organisation had not sent anyone in person.

People smugglers were becoming increasingly more brazen and Bulgaria’s security along its border with Turkey increasingly helpless against the wave of refugees.

In the past two months, traffickers had delivered several immigrant groups to the refugee camp in Harmanli, which is 50km from the border with Turkey.

Reports quoted the director of the temporary accommodation centre in Harmanli, Marko Petrov, as saying that there had been a failed attempt to create an Al-Qaeda cell at the camp.

A family, subsquently extradited, already had been expelled from Switzerland. “It turned out they were members of Al-Qaeda. They started campaigning here, trying to set up cells,” Petrov said.

(Photo: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)



The Sofia Globe staff

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