A minibus smuggling 12 Syrian immigrants has crashed into a police car near the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
Bulgarian officials said that the incident happened this week, on November 22, after the driver left the police checkpoint, thus injuring an officer and several passengers, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In addition, the vehicle with the suspicious migrants did not stop at a checkpoint near Sofia, later ramming into the police car.
According to the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, a 51-year-old policeman suffered life-threatening head injuries. At the same time, a 20-year-old immigrant also suffered a head injury, while three other passengers that were also on the minibus have already been hospitalised.
In this regard, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Petar Todorov, said that he would quit, as he demands that harsher punishments be imposed on smugglers, as many of them currently escape simply with fines.
Moreover, at the beginning of November, a 30-year-old policeman has been killed while patrolling near the border with Turkey.
Meanwhile, in August, two other female officers were killed when a people-smuggling bus crashed into their police car near the Black Sea city of Burgas as they tried to stop it.
Considering that Bulgaria is a member of the European Union but not part of the Schengen area,
it shares a 269-kilometre-long or 167-mile land border with Turkey.
Bulgarian government data reveals that since January, 14,427 people have been arrested in this country for sneaking in, compared to a total of 8,254 last year.
Furthermore, based on statistics from the Ministry of the Interior, during the period January-September last year, more than 6,500 people were arrested in Bulgaria after entering the country irregularly, which is a three-fold increase compared to the same period of 2020.
Previously, the Bulgarian police caught 141 immigrants coming from Afghanistan trying to enter Bulgaria illegally.
As a result, authorities stressed that security along the Eastern European country’s border with Turkey must be increased, given the increase in illegal migrant crossings.
As the police explain, there were 88 men in a bus registered in North Macedonia, which a 60-year-old Macedonian citizen also drove. The same wagon was then stopped in the Black Sea port city of Burgas. On the other hand, the other group of immigrants, which included 53 people, was found in a forest near Burgas.
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