Bulgarian journalist's car blown up; no injuries

October 14, 2011 - 9:35 AM

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — A makeshift bomb exploded under the car of a popular Bulgarian journalist who has been a fierce critic of the center-right government, damaging the vehicle but causing no injuries, police said Friday.

The blast coincided with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's visit to the country's capital, Sofia, and amid a heated campaign for next week's presidential and mayoral elections, but police said they have no suspects and have not determined a motive yet.

Sasho Dikov's car was blown up late Thursday night in front of his home in a Sofia residential area. Dikov, program director of the Channel 3 TV station, said he hadn't received threats before the blast.

"The blast is aimed at intimidating me, at intimidating everyone who speaks the truth," Dikov said in an interview with private BTV on Friday.

He declined to blame any one or group in particular but said he would not stop talking about Prime Minister Boiko Borisov's government's alleged failure to cope with corruption and organized crime.

Acting Interior Minister Veselin Vuchkov said the bomb contained roughly one kilogram (two pounds) of explosives.

In Brussels, the EU Commission's spokesperson Pia Hansen rejected allegations that the blast could be linked to Barroso's visit. "We have no evidence to suggest that there is a link between the visit of the president and the events in Sofia," Hansen said.

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organization condemned the attack and urged police to track down the perpetrators.

In a statement, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic, reminded authorities that a similar case still remained unsolved — a bomb blast last February in front of the office of the opposition weekly newspaper Galleria.

"We are still waiting to see who was responsible for it. In a democratic country, journalists and media should be able to work without fear," Vujovic said.