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Bulgarian journalist's car blown up in Sofia

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Fri, Oct 14 2011 2342 Views
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A bomb blast destroyed the car of Bulgarian television journalist Sasho Dikov at about 10pm on October 13 2011 outside his home in the Gotse Delchev residential neighbourhood of Sofia. No one was injured.

Possible reasons for the blast, which also damaged windows in nearby building, were being investigated, the Interior Ministry said.

Speaking to bTV on October 14, acting Interior Minister Vesselin Vuchkov said that there had been about a kilogram of explosive, placed next to the front left tyre of the car. Whether the purpose was to intimidate or whether there was some other intention was not known, Vuchkov said.

"Whatever the motives, we strongly condemn such acts," Vuchkov said.

He could not rule out that there was a link between the bomb blast and Bulgaria's October 23 presidential and municipal electons, but said that no disruption would be allowed.

Vuchkov said that finding the perpetrators of such well-organised criminal acts was difficult, but he had faith in the Interior Ministry's professionalism.

Speaking to Bulgarian National Television on October 14, Dikov, who is programme director of private television channel Kanal 3, said that he saw no need for security for himself. He said that he had received no threats.

Dikov said that from the top floor of the building where he lives, he heard an "incredible explosion".

Some news reports mentioned Dikov's critical views of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov's Government. Further, the car bomb blast coincides with a two-day visit to the Bulgarian capital city by high-ranking European Commission officials, among them EC President Jose Barroso, for a meeting of the European People's Party bureau.

In February, there was an explosion outside the offices of anti-government publication Galeria, when EU officials were visiting Bulgaria, while in July, on the eve of the release of the EC's regular report on Bulgaria's progress in meeting EU standards against organised crime and corruption, there were explosions at the offices of two minority opposition parties.

Speaking to Bulgarian National Television, Borissov said that the incident was a "pre-election provocation".

He said that the timing was no coincidence, given the presence in Sofia of the European Commission President and senior members of the European People's Party.

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