Did German politician help smuggle stranded refugees?
A leaflet has been found in the refugee camp in the Greek town of Idomeni drawing out an illegal crossing into Macedonia. The mysterious signature underneath shows the name of a former German minister.
On March 14th, a large group of refugees found a way around the closed border between Greece and Macedonia. A leaflet indicates that the mastermind behind it may be a German politician.
Two thousand refugees left their camp in Idomeni, Greece on Monday afternoon forming a human chain over a river to get to Macedonia, according to Der Tagesspiegel.
Three men from Afghanistan drowned when crossing the fast moving waters, while Macedonian authorities are trying to deport back those that made it.
Human chain across the river to Macedonia; Photo: DPA
"We have in our hands the leaflets indicating that the exodus was an organised action," explained Giorgos Kyritsis, a speaker for the Greek government.
The map on the leaflet outlines a route leading to a gap in the border fence between the two countries. The text written in Arabic calls on the camp members to gather at 2pm and cross over collectively.
In the bottom right corner, a signature states "Kommando Norbert Blüm".
A man of the same name is a member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and was German Secretary of State for Employment between 1982 and 1998.
The signature coupled with his visit has been causing controvery on social media, with Kommando Norbert Blüm trending throughout Tuesday on Twitter.
One user commented:"... 'commando Norbert Blüm' orchestrates this action and 'only by chance' is the actual Norbert Blüm at the place where it happens - weird right?"
@BILD... klar vom "Kommando Norbert Blühm" würde diese Aktion inszeniert und "zufällig" ist diese Person gerade vor Ort- seltsam?— Heinzbua (@hepsch11) March 15, 2016
Another user asked:"What has Norbert Blüm got to say about the leaflet that was signed with 'Kommando Blüm'?"
But Blüm denied that distributed the maps.
"I have compassion for this act of desperation, but I didn't initiate it," Blüm told broadcaster ARD.
The organisers of the mass exodus remain unknown.