French foreign intelligence agents are reported to have been mistaken for thieves during a secret training mission in Bulgaria.
The embarrassing incident saw five French citizens set upon by local residents.
Several respected French websites said two of the agents were shot in the leg and a third received a broken nose.
Neither country has confirmed claims that the group were spies.
“Everything has been handled correctly by investigators and after we sent our questions, the French embassy confirmed the identity of the people who had been detained in the village. They were then handed over to the French side and they are not wanted for any crimes in Bulgaria,” Tsevtan Tsevtanov, Bulgaria’s Interior Minister, said.
The five insisted they were extreme sports enthusiasts who were on holiday in the Bulgarian village, close to the city of Pleven.
The incident happened in the middle of October and has only come to light now that the group has returned to France.