Bulgarian Authorities Detain Hundreds of Illegal Immigrants, Several Human Smugglers
Bulgarian authorities detained hundreds of illegal immigrants and several human smugglers in separate operations across the country.
A total of 115 illegal immigrants were detained in the border town of Svilengrad after they had entered the country from Greece by boats sailing on the Maritsa river.
The group, which was predominantly made of families with children, had been detected by a border patrol at a car park near the village of Chernodab as the migrants were boarding a truck.
The driver of the truck was detained, private bTV station informs.
The border police informed that none of the illegal immigrants was in the possession of identity documents.
They had identified themselves as coming from Syria, but later it was established that they were citizens of Iraq.
All of them have requested refugee status and they have been sent to the distribution centre in the town of Elhovo.
On another occasion, two Afghan citizens were detained near the village of Mihalich in the municipality of Svilengrad for smuggling 34 Iraqi citizens across the Turkish-Bulgarian border on Thursday.
The migrants explained to border police that they were relatives from a village in Iraq, who were fleeing the military actions of Islamic State (IS).
In their testimonies, the migrants said that each of them had paid USD 1000 to Syrian smugglers in Turkey to transfer them to Sofia.
All of them have requested asylum in Bulgaria, while the two Afghan smugglers were detained for 72 hours.
In a separate case, authorities detained a minibus carrying 25 illegal immigrants identifying themselves as Afghan citizens on the road leading to the town of Primorsko on Thursday.
Shortly afterwards, the police managed to detain the driver of the minibus, who had attempted to escape with another vehicle.
The man was detained for 24 hours and charged with smuggling, while the migrants have been sent to the migration department of the interior ministry in Burgas, with their accommodation at a specialised centre forthcoming.
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