Cyprus Mail

Vendetta link to village house fires

By Angelos Anastasiou

A FIRE which broke out in the home of a Turkish Cypriot family in Kato Arodes early Saturday morning while they were away could be part of a personal crusade against the extended family as a nearby house, belonging to the family of the homeowner of Saturday’s blaze, was arsoned a few weeks ago.

On February 13, a fire was reported in a house owned by a 35-year-old man in Kato Arodes while the owner and his family had been visiting the occupied areas. Police ruled out the possibility of accident as the house had been broken into through the back door and four separate fires were set inside. The fires caused extensive damage to the inside of the house, burning drapes, furniture and walls.

Early on Saturday morning another fire was reported in Kato Arodes, in similar circumstances to those of the February fire. The owner – the first homeowner’s father-in-law – and his family had been away visiting relatives in the occupied area, when the house was burgled and set alight.

The two Turkish Cypriot families are residents of the Republic who were granted the properties by the government as part of its refugee housing scheme following the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Kato Arodes community leader Theodosis Mavrommatis confirmed that the family connection suggests a personal aspect, but could not imagine a possible motive.

“These people are harmless and quiet, they never bother anyone. I can’t imagine what grievance one may have against them,” he said.

But reports by local residents suggested the possibility of a personal dispute with two brothers from a neighbouring village, one of whom was recently arrested by police in a major drugs bust and is now serving jail time.

“They both think that the Turkish Cypriot was somehow involved in his arrest,” said a resident.

The two brothers had previously clashed with the Turkish Cypriot over bills they had allegedly left unpaid at his car body shop, causing the brothers to suspect him of going to the police as payback, the resident said.

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