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3 Refugees May Have Died After Following Advice From German Politician

REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

A prominent German politician and open-border activists are accused of encouraging refugees to take an illegal and deadly path to Macedonia.

Three people died Monday when 2,000 refugees attempted to cross Greece’s closed border to Macedonia along a river stream. It was revealed Tuesday the refugees may have followed a tip from activist groups.

“We have in our hands the leaflets indicating that the exodus was an organized action,” said Giorgos Kyritsis, a speaker for the Greek government.

A flyer with a map to the route was handed out at a camp in the city of Idomeni. The flyer was allegedly signed by former German Secretary of State for Employment Norbert Blüm, who is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. Blüm visited the camp over the weekend, but denies having any part in distributing the map.

“I have compassion for this act of desperation, but I didn’t initiate it,” he told German TV channel ARD.

Representatives of Welcome to Europe, an organization that helps translate information to refugees at the camp, is also denying any involvement of his organization.

“I can not say whether that was distributed in the camp,” activist Aden Homberger told German newspaper Zeit. “The call itself is absolutely irresponsible.”

A majority of the at least 500 refugees who made it across the border were captured by Macedonian authorities and sent back to Greece.

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