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Bulgaria becomes first European country to shoot a Muslim refugee illegally trying to enter its borders…UN ‘deplores’ the death

A television cameraman walks at the site where a man travelling with a large group of refugees from Afghanistan was shot by a border police officer the night before, near the town of Sredets, Bulgaria October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Bulphoto Agency

An Afghan asylum seeker was fatally wounded by Bulgarian border police when a warning shot ricocheted, Bulgarian officials said on Friday, in what the United Nations said was the first incident of its kind in the current migration crisis.

The man was traveling with a large group of refugees from Afghanistan when confronted late on Thursday by a police patrol near the southeastern Bulgarian town of Sredets.

“We, at UNHCR, are deeply shocked by this incident,” said Boris Cheshirkov, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency.

“We deplore the death of an Afghan asylum seeker, trying to reach safety across the border. We call on the Bulgarian authorities to conduct an immediate, transparent and independent investigation. Seeking asylum is an universal human right and not a crime.”

The death prompted Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev to call for rapid action co-ordinated by the European Union to tackle the crisis. The EU this week has offered Turkey aid and closer ties in return for Ankara’s help in staunching the flow of migrants.

Prime Minister Boiko Borisov left an EU summit on refugees in Brussels and returned home after hearing of the incident.

The UNHCR said it was the first time an asylum seeker had been shot dead while trying to cross into Europe, which is struggling with an influx of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war or poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. More than 3,000 others have died, mainly by drowning.

The incident happened when a patrol of three


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