Bulgarian Police Move into Southern Village over Religious Fears

Crime | September 29, 2009, Tuesday // 19:23|  views

The MP and leader of theRZS party, Yane Yanev, has been heavily involved with the ethnic and religious issues in the villages of Garmen and Ribnovo, heavily populated by Bulgarian ethnic Muslim minorities. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

There is increased police presence in Bulgaria's southern village of Ribnovo, in the Garmen municipality over alleged religious and ethnic violence.

The police moved into the village upon request from the Member of Parliament (MP) and leader of the “Order, Law and Justice” (RZS) party, Yane Yanev, who is also from the nearby region in the Pirin Mountains, and has been heavily involved with the ethnic and religious issues in the villages of Garmen and Ribnovo.

Yanev said in an interview for Darik radio Tuesday that he has approached the Police Chief in the southern city of Blagoevgrad, who informed him about the tensions in Ribnovo and sent police teams to ensure order and the safety of the villagers.

The move has been triggered by attacks on the local teacher Nedim Talamanov, who is the RZS leader in Ribnovo and his brother Feim. According to Yanev, the attacks have been provoked by people close to the Mayor of Garmen, Ahmed Bashev, and the teacher of religion, Murad Boshnak, who has been accused of spreading radical Islam in the Western Rhodopi area, heavily populated by Bulgarian ethnic Muslim minorities.

It was reported earlier that relatives of Boshnak have been arrested Monday evening after a murder attempt on Feim Talamanov. Local residents, identified as Ali Hatip, 21, and his father, also named Ali Hatip, who are Boshnak's relatives, arrived to the house of Feim Talamanov, a former teacher in Ribnovo.

The two, allegedly, took an ax from the car and began chasing 44-year-old Feim, who narrowly managed to escape an ax blow. Talamanov was rescued by a passing by policeman, villagers from Ribnovo told the investigation.

Local residents also say the drama between the Talamanovi family and Boshnak's relatives has been going on for over a week.

Nedim Talamanov, himself, was arrested several days ago, and is still behind bars, by the police in the nearby town of Gotse Delchev after an altercation with people from Boshnak's circle. A barn, near Talamanov's house, was set on fire during the night of September 27, and locals are convinced it is arson and vendetta against Talamanov.

In March, Boshnak and Bashev were summoned to Sofia by the State Agency for National Security (DANS), over signals coming from MP Yanev, who alarmed they were exerting religious pressure on local people and were inciting ethnic and religious hate. They were interrogated and released without charges.

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Tags: Bulgaria National Security Agency, DANS, radical Islam, radical Islamism, Yane Yanev, Ahmed Bashev, Garmen, Ribnovo


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