Authorities in Moldova say a Tajikistan national who was denied entry into the country at its main international airport grabbed a guard’s weapon and fatally shot two security officers
CHISINAU, Moldova — A Tajikistan national who was denied entry into Moldova at its main international airport grabbed a guard’s weapon and fatally shot two security officers Friday, officials said. One traveler also was wounded.
The suspect was being escorted by officials at Chisinau International Airport when he “took the gun of a border guard” and opened fire, authorities said. Special forces then intervened, subdued the suspect and handcuffed him, leaving him seriously injured. All passengers were evacuated from the airport.
Moldova’s Prime Minister Dorin Recean said in a statement that the suspect was from Tajikistan. He said a wounded passenger was being treated by doctors.
Moldova’s acting Prosecutor General Ion Munteanu told journalists late Friday that the suspect had arrived from Istanbul, Turkey. He said the Tajik national was being treated in hospital for “serious injuries” sustained while being detained, and that he was under police supervision.
Prosecutors are investigating the incident as a possible terrorist attack, Munteanu added.
Moldova’s President Maia Sandu said that the two people killed were a border police officer and an airport security employee.
“We send our sincere condolences to the bereaved families and relatives, the loss of loved ones is a great pain for the families,” Sandu wrote in a statement on Facebook. “It’s a sad day for all of us.”
State institutions have been put on high alert, Sandu said, and that “police and law enforcement agencies are mobilized throughout the Republic of Moldova” in response to the incident.
Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a separate statement that the victims “lost their lives while performing their duties” and that authorities “took care to protect the civilians who were in the danger zone.”
“The aggressor will be held accountable by law enforcement agencies that opened a criminal investigation file on the case,” the ministry said, adding that an investigation is being launched by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, neighboring Moldova — a country with a population of about 2.6 million people, and a European Union candidate since June 2022 — has faced a long list of crises.
These include an acute winter energy crisis after Russia dramatically reduced gas supplies and recurring anti-government protests organized by a Russia-friendly political party against the ruling pro-Western administration.
Moldova’s leaders have also repeatedly accused Moscow of conducting campaigns to try to destabilize the country, which was a Soviet republic until 1991.
Source: ABC News