Head of SAR dismissed / Bulgaria was warned to tighten its border control / Refugee Hunters at the border

On the 22nd of February 2016, the government dismissed Nikola Kazakov, the chairman of the (SAR) State Agency for Refugees, and filled the position with Kircho Kirov (a former director of the National Intelligence Service). Kazakov was fired because of “irregularities” in spending money on food for the refugee centers of the SAR. Volunteers and NGO members from Bulgaria published a statement which called for a transparent procedure concerning the nomination of the new head of the SAR, who should be selected  “on the basis of expertise and personal merits”. At a later time also Aleksandar Dimitrov, the deputy chairman of the SAR, was fired.

It was reported that one day before, on the 21st of February 2016, Bulgaria was warned by Serbian authorities to tighten up its border control. On the same day the Serbian authorities in Dimitrovgrad and Preševo did not hand Afghani people a new biometric document, that is necessary to leave in a legal way to Croatia, which on was agreed at a meeting between the heads of police services in Zagreb on the 18th of February. Some days ago, media reported about a border police man saying that the number of the Bulgarian Border Police, at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, is not sufficient.

Meanwhile, the private TV station bTV published reports about people who are patroling with All-terrain vehicles through the region. The leader of the group was presented by the television broadcast station as a super-hero. While he made terrifying racist comments the man created a self-made video in which one could see a dozen of lined up refugees lying on the ground facing down, under them women and children. The incident happened already on 14.02.2016 near the Bulgarian-Turkish border in the outskirts of a village called Dolno Yabalkovo. Furthermore the leader stated that the “volunteering squads should receive payment [of 25 euro] for every violator”. The Bulgarian branch of the Association of European Journalists asked bTV to clarify its position about the reports concerning the group.

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