A four-year-old boy has been killed after security forces in east Turkey fired shots at a vehicle carrying a group of migrants.
A four-year-old Afghan boy was fatally shot in the eastern Turkish province of Van on Sunday (July 3) when security forces fired at a vehicle carrying a group of migrants, according to the Turkey-based Van Human rights Association.
A further 12 migrants were injured in the incident, including the boy's mother, Mehmet Karatas, the chair of the rights organization, told German news agency dpa.
The Van provincial government office released a statement confirming that one migrant was killed and 12 others injured, but did not give details about the victim's age or nationality. It said the vehicle contained 40 migrants.
Officers fired 'intensively' at vehicle
Gendarmerie officers at the checkpoint of the entrance at Karahisar neighborhood tried to stop a "suspicious vehicle" traveling from the Koçbaşı-Turan neighborhoods, the government statement added.
The driver of the vehicle "did not obey the 'stop' warning and drove towards the gendarmerie personnel," the statement read. "In order to stop the vehicle, the tires of the vehicle were shot at."
But according to Karatas, two officers had fired "intensively" at the vehicle, shattering the window panes of the car, even though it had been heading into a dead end. Several of the migrants, including women and children, fled to a barn and into the mountains as the officers kept shooting, Karatas said.
The human rights advocate called the incident a "breach of duty and a violation of the right to life," and appealed for an independent probe.
The Van government office said efforts were ongoing to "apprehend the smuggler and the driver of the vehicle who fled after the incident."
A judicial and administrative investigation has been initiated against those involved in the incident, it added.
Van, which borders Iran, is a common route for migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, with people smugglers often looking to bring them to large cities like Istanbul.