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Refugee shot trying to reach Europe

After a video showing a young Syrian man being shot at near the border to Turkey, Bulgaria was accused of shooting a refugee.

This is the first time that an asylum seeker has been seen being shot with live ammunition at the EU border.

This is the result of a joint investigation between Sky News, Lighthouse Reports and Domani.

Video footage taken at the border of Bulgaria and Turkey on October 3 shows Abdullah El Rustum, 19, falling to the ground after a bullet went through his hand.


After his group was illegally entered Bulgaria, he claimed that he was shot and taken to the hospital.

“A green vehicle arrived with two officers from Bulgaria in it. They came toward us and started shooting in the air. He said that they shot in the air twice and then started shooting on the ground right in front of them.”

“We weren’t scared and we continued to argue that this is unacceptable. “Why did you do that? They then shot me straight in the face.”

He said, “The way he shot at my was direct and he wanted to kill me.”

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union. It hopes to become a Schengen country, which allows people to freely move across its borders.

This country is often used to access other European countries.

Image El Rustum claims that he was shot and killed by border officials from Bulgaria

Search for Females in a’sexually’ way

According to Mr El Rustum, an argument broke out when border officials searched the women in the group in “sexual” ways.

Mobile phone footage shows the group throwing stones at the Turkish border fence and swearing.

The tension rises, and suddenly the forest hears a loud bang.

Image The mobile phone footage of a Land Rover Discovery can also be seen. The Bulgarian border force is known to use

Although the shooting victim cannot be seen clearly, it is known that the Bulgarian border force was present at the scene.

The footage was also sent to Steven Beck, an expert in audio forensics, as part of the investigation.

He analysed the file’s waveform and spectre and concluded that they were consistent.

Image: The gunshot audio was consistent with a muzzle blast using a small firearm. Pic: Beck Audio Forensics

Refugees “threw stones”

The person who is filming the video faces towards the Bulgarian border.

The photos provided by the Bulgarian interior ministry illustrate the damage that they claim was caused by stones thrown from refugees.

According to the statement, a Sredets Border Police Station border officer was struck by a rock.

Image Bulgaria released images showing damage caused by stones thrown from refugees

According to the government, the group burned objects and was aggressive and hostile.

According to the report, an investigation was conducted and it was found that “no shots were fired from either our side”.

Illegal migration is a major problem in Bulgaria.

Image A stone thrown at a border officer of the Sredets Border Police Station injured him

More Sky News:

Braverman promises to do “whatever it takes” to stop Channel crossings

Albanians should be prevented from applying for asylum in the UK

Official figures show that 153,460 people tried to cross the border between Bulgaria and Turkey from the beginning of the year up to 27 November. This is more than four times the number who attempted it last year.

According to the Bulgarian interior ministry, “Aggression by third country nationals against GDBP officers [General Directorate Border Police] has increased significantly in the recent times”. They also claimed that border guards at fence were attacked with stones, flammable objects and inflicted injuries on colleagues and property.

The statement claims that two interior ministry officers died trying to stop a bus carrying illegal migrants from Burgas.

“Disturbing Pattern of Threats”

Concerns have been raised about illegally pushing people back by the increase in illegal immigration.

The United Nations refugee chief had warned earlier this year of a disturbing pattern of threats and intimidation at the EU’s southeastern and central borders.

According to the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, pushbacks are “a range of state measures that aim at forcing refugees and migrants from their territory while obstructing or limiting access to applicable legal and procedural frames”.

To find people who were crossing into Bulgaria, we went to the area where Mr El Rustum was killed.

We saw signs of asylum seekers moving quickly.

We found areas of ground that were littered with bottles, energy drink, and clothes. These are makeshift rest areas for the long journey through dense forests ahead.

Image The refugees allegedly threw rocks at a vehicle of the Bulgarian Border Force

“It’s better to be dead”

A group of terrified Syrians approached us and told us that they were looking for new opportunities in Europe after fleeing the civil war in Syria.

We were able to gain their trust and they shared their stories with us.

We saw a 15-year old boy with scars on his head and side that he claimed he received from being beaten by Bulgarian officials after a failed crossing attempt. He was making his eighth attempt.

He said, “One time we crossed over the fence, and the Bulgarian Police arrested us and began hitting us.”

“They put dogs on us, then sent us back naked in shorts.”

After trying to flee, he claimed that he had seen someone shoot in the leg by Bulgarian police two weeks prior. Others spoke out about systematic abuse.

Kenan, a man by the name of Kenan, said that he once was part of a group who was taken to a forest and arrested.

They put us in a hut, then undressed. They then left us with a dog.

We asked him if he was afraid of more violence during his next attempt.

It is better than death. He said it was better than death, referring to the fighting in Syria.

Image Kenan stated that he once was part of a group who were taken to a forest by a car.

“More must been done”

That’s the truth. Those who flee war at home will face beatings in foreign lands.

Sky News was told by the European Commission that any border management must respect human dignity and adhere to the principle of non-refoulement.

Anitta Hipper (the spokesperson for EU Commission home affairs) stated that any allegations of violence or pushbacks should be investigated by the national authorities.

EU home affairs ministers met at the end November to discuss the current situation on all routes of migration and the challenges they face.

Vit Rakusan (Czech interior minister) said that “In the last years, we have taken many measures to jointly address migratory problems we face”. He was speaking on behalf of the EU Council presidency.

“However, there are more things that can be done to find sustainable solutions and to adapt to the constantly changing environment.”

The Bulgarian government refutes the allegations and says it follows domestic and international laws. However, there is an increase in aggression against border officials.

The interior ministry stated that the “Bulgarian security force, with the support of Frontex are on the frontline every day to protect all European citizens.”

However, the allegations are alarming – violence, threats and intimidation are routinely used at the edges of Europe.

Additional reporting by Dorothee Thiiesing, Europe producer. Guldenay Sonumut Turkey producer. Mahmud Musa Syria producer. Adam Parker OSINT editor


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