Bor­der guards un­hurt in shoot­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Four Greek bor­der guards and two Ger­man com­man­dos dis­patched to the GreekTurk­ish fron­tier by Fron­tex, the Euro­pean Union’s bor­der mon­i­tor­ing agency, emerged un­scathed yes­ter­day af­ter four sus­pected Turk­ish peo­ple smug­glers opened fire on them with hunt­ing ri­fles.

The smug­glers had been pre­par­ing to dis­em­bark a group of nearly 100 would-be mi­grants onto an islet in the River Evros, which forms part of Greece’s land bor­der with Tur­key, when they spot­ted two po­lice pa­trol ve­hi­cles on the Greek side of the bor­der. The sus­pects fired their guns in the air first, pre­sum­ably as a warn­ing for the Greek-Ger­man con­tin­gent to re­treat. See­ing no re­ac­tion, the smug­glers started fir­ing at the two ve­hi­cles which were a few hun­dred me­ters away.

Nei­ther the Greek bor­der guards nor the Fron­tex of­fi­cials re­turned fire but con­tacted the Turk­ish po­lice by ra­dio to in­form them of the in­ci­dent. Turk­ish authorities re­acted quickly, ar­rest­ing a group of 97 peo­ple in­clud­ing the sus­pected smug­glers. The eth­nic ori­gin of the would-be mi­grants re­mained un­clear.

Speak­ing to Kathimerini, the head of the Evros po­lice of­fi­cers’ union, Con­stanti­nos Hatzianag­nos­tou, said yes­ter­day that the num­ber of il­le­gal im­mi­grants en­ter­ing Greece via the Evros River has in­creased to more than 100 per day fol­low­ing a brief lull.

Ear­lier this week, Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Chris­tos Papout­sis said that a Euro­pean Union-sub­si­dized pro­ject to build a fence along the Greek-Turk­ish bor­der to keep out would-be mi­grants was mov­ing for­ward. The min­is­ter also her­alded the con­struc­tion of sev­eral new mi­grant re­cep­tion cen­ters.

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