Refugees intercepted trying to cross into Bulgaria from Greece

A group of 70 refugees was stopped while trying to cross into Bulgaria from Greece on June 5, reports said.

The group was detected by camera monitoring by Bulgarian Border Police from the Gotse Delchev regional headquarters in an area near the Ilinden – Exochi checkpoint at the Bulgarian-Greek border.

Greek border authorities were notified and the group was prevented from crossing into Bulgarian territory.

Reports said that unofficial information was that the group, reported to be from Afghanistan, had come from a refugee camp in Greece. The group was said to include 27 children and 43 adults aged from 18 to 40.

Bulgaria is maintaining strengthened security measures at the Greek border amid indications of a possible increase in the number of attempts to cross the border illegally. This has included the deployment of military personnel to assist Border Police with foot and vehicle patrols and the setting up of observation posts.

A week earlier, two large groups of refugees were intercepted crossing into Bulgaria from Greece. Both groups were returned to Greece.

Meanwhile, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio said that according to Bulgarian Interior Ministry data for May, the number of migrants attempting to cross Bulgaria on their way to northern and western Europe was up by more than 20 per cent, going by figures for foreign nationals held at the Bulgarian-Turkish and Bulgarian-Serbian frontiers.

Overall, the number of people detained is down on an annual basis. According to the ministry, since the beginning of 2016, more than 5000 people had tried to transit Bulgarian territory towards western Europe. About 40 per cent said that they were from Iraq, with the next largest groups stating that they were from Afghanistan or Syria.



The Sofia Globe staff

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