Bomb Threats to Schools Rattle Bulgaria Ahead of Elections
People wait to cast ballots at a polling station in a school for the parliamentary elections in Sofia, Bulgaria, 4 April 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said Russian meddling was suspected in the coordination of the signals, though the Russian embassy in Sofia denied involvement. On Wednesday, Demerdzhiev clarified that investigations pointed to a Russian role but not necessarily to the Russian state.
Interim PM Galab Donev has set up two working groups to establish a procedure on the safety of the schools which are about to host many voters on Sunday, casting ballots, and to update the National Counter-Terrorism Plan.
Donev said the threats were designed to stoke fear: "No matter what anyone tells you, it's not dangerous to vote," Donev told media on Wednesday.
The Interior Minister confirmed an increased police presence around schools on Saturday in order to secure the voting process the next day.
Bozhidar Bozhanov, "We Continue the Change" member and former Minister of Electronic Governance, tweeted that the problem might lie in the low security levels of some Bulgarian email services such as abv.bg and mail.bg, popular among local users nearly two decades ago but still widely used by schools and institutions. He recommended using Microsoft's Office365 service for which the Ministry of Education has granted a license but is rarely adopted.
The threats started on March 27 and were sent to schools in Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Pleven and Yambol.
In Bulgaria, anonymously calling schools about a bomb alert has been a popular prank in the past to abort school activities and exams. But recent events seem unconnected to such pranks and have gone on for three days.
Incidents add to...
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