The authorities in Bulgaria have begun taking steps against groups which call themselves “migrant hunters”, and which detain migrants and refugees crossing into Bulgaria by illegal routes, and force them to return to Turkey.
Members of these extremist right-wing groups have occasionally used social media to distribute videos showing them detaining migrants, angering many observers.
A member of one of these groups, Petar Nizamov, was arrested after publishing a video clip showing a number of migrants being detained on the border with Turkey, stretched out on the ground with their hands bound.
Nizamov is shown in the video speaking in broken English with the migrants, who appear frightened, telling them: “This is Bulgaria, go back to Turkey.”
Nizamov says that along with his friends he’s helping support the state’s efforts to protect its borders, which suffer from deficiencies.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov announced his support in the beginning for vigilante groups like the one Nizamov belongs to, but he later backed down from his position, saying they were actually committing a crime.
For his part, Bulgarian Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova has said national security now has to contend with “not only those illegally crossing the borders, but those willing to abuse them.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.