PM Borissov Convenes Meeting with Security Services over New Zealand Terror Attack
Sofia, March 15 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov, Interior Minister Mladen Marinov, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva and senior representatives of the security services conferred here late on Friday at the Council of Ministers in connection with the terror attack in New Zealand earlier in the day, in which a gunman killed dozens in a mass shooting in two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov said that the shooter, Brenton Tarrant of Australia, was in Bulgaria between November 9 and 15, 2018. He arrived in Sofia on a flight from Dubai, rented a car the next day and toured cities connected with Bulgarian history. Tarrant was in Dryanovo, Pleven, Veliko Turnovo, Blagoevgrad, Plovdiv, Asenovgrad, Kazanluk, Bachkovo and Bansko. On November 15 he left for Romania, from where he then travelled to Hungary by car, Tsatsarov said, explaining that he had a very good knowledge of this region's history. Brenton Tarrant was also in Montenegro and Serbia between December 28 and 30 of 2016, the Prosecutor General added.
"Our task is to collect information about Brenton Tarrant's whole visit to Bulgaria and whether he has any ties with Bulgarians. According to the preliminary information, the Australian had a tourist visa, Tsatsarov said,
According to Interior Minister Marinov, there is currently no need to increase the security alert level in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian security services are working with their colleagues from the USA, New Zealand, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Montenegro, Tsatsarov and Marinov explained.
"We express our deepest condolences and do not want Bulgaria, which is an ethnically tolerant country, to be associated in any way with this horrible and unjustifiable act," Bulgaria's top diplomat said, adding that the counter-terrorism task force met immediately after receiving information about the case.
The Grand Mufti's Office in Bulgaria issued a declaration, sharply condemning the attack against mosques in New Zealand's city of Christchurch on March 15, 2019, in which around 50 people were killed during the Friday Prayer. The declaration, issued in the name of the Muslim community in Bulgaria, was received by BTA Friday.
"The acts of violence against innocent people, regardless of religious, ethnic and cultural differences, are unacceptable and deeply reproachable. Such brutal acts inflict incurable wounds on human civilization and undermine the efforts towards peaceful coexistence," reads the declaration.
The declaration notes the serious responsibility of the media, public figures and intellectuals, who form public opinion. It also criticizes the use of hate speech for political purposes, as well as the open calls for society's division by different far-Right and far-Left organizations in the last 10-15 years.
The Muslim community expresses its most sincere condolences to the families of those killed, wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded, and voices its solidarity with all Muslims in New Zealand. LI/MY