A 7-year-old Bosnian boy was killed Sunday when a French border guard fired a shotgun at a convoy of refugees from the former Yugoslav federation trying to speed around a roadblock into southern France, police said.
Forty-three Bosnian refugees, including 19 children, were in police custody after the incident near the French frontier town of Sospel bordering Italy, about 10 miles north of the Mediterranean coast, officials said.
Prosecutors from nearby Nice opened an investigation, questioning the guard and the refugees as well as a second guard present when the shots were fired, officials said.
The guard has acknowledged firing shots at the refugees but said he did so because he felt threatened.
The two border guards had set up the roadblock after receiving a tip that a group was attempting to enter France illegally via a mountain road from Italy.
The convoy of four cars and two trailers initially slowed down as it approached the barrier but then accelerated and tried to drive around it.
After two of the cars had passed, one of the guards fired three shots at the remaining vehicles with his pump-action shotgun.
One of the shots struck the boy--who was riding in the rear of one of the vehicles--in the chest, police said.