SOFIA (Reuters) -Turkish security forces have arrested two suspects in connection with the fatal shooting of a Bulgarian police officer at the border with Turkey, regional Turkish authorities said on Tuesday.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev said the officer was killed by gunfire from the direction of a group of migrants trying to cross into his country, an European Union member state, from Turkey.
In a statement, the governor's office in Turkish border province Edirne said a shotgun and shells used in the shooting were found in the possession of the suspects. The statement gave no further detail.
Demerdzhiev said shots were fired on Monday evening from Turkish territory at a border police officer and a serviceman patrolling part of the country's southeastern frontier near the village of Golyam Dervent.
The police officer, who was inspecting a cut in the fence along the border, died on the spot. The serviceman, who was not hurt, returned fire after hearing 10-15 shots and a group of suspected migrants retreated, Bulgarian officials said.
"This is a criminal act, an extreme aggression...This is the first attack with firearms by migrants," Dermendzhiev, who rushed to the site of the incident, told reporters.
"From now on, we will be uncompromising towards anyone who endangers the health and life of our officers," he said.
It was not immediately clear how large the alleged group was, or if one or several people opened fire on the officer and soldier.
Dermendzhiev said Turkish authorities had pledged to cooperate and seek the perpetrators and that he would ask them to combat human trafficking rings more actively.
Bulgaria has deployed some 350 troops along its southern border with Turkey and Greece to help border police combat a growing influx of migrants.
Bulgaria straddles one of the routes migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan use to enter the European Union. Most of the migrants do not intend to stay in the bloc's poorest member state but rather move on to richer countries in western Europe.
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova and Yesim Dikmen; editing by Tom Hogue and Mark Heinrich)