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Cyprus

Fugitive former convict ‘fired at police while holding his child’ (updated)

Andreas Onoufriou

By George Psyllides

A fugitive former convict opened fire at police officers while holding his five-year-old son in his arms before he surrendered, officers said on Tuesday, as a five-day manhunt came to an end in a Larnaca village.

Andreas Onoufriou, 63, was arrested at around 11am by members of the counter-terrorism unit at a hideaway in Lagia, which belonged to a friend of his who was also detained.

Police said Onoufriou was spotted outside with his son close by.

“The members of the counter-terrorism squad asked him repeatedly to surrender but instead, the 63-year-old fired against the officers while he was holding his underage son in his arms,” police spokesman Andreas Angelides said.

He was using a G3 assault rifle like the ones used by the National Guard.

The head of the police unit fired warning shots in the air after which Onoufriou left the child on the ground and tried to escape.

He was chased by the officers and finally arrested in a nearby ravine, police said.

A quick search of the house found a pistol, a hunting shotgun, an airgun, and other items.

“Police also arrested the owner of the house in Lagia, aged, 63, from Limassol,” Angelides said. “The child was transferred to Larnaca and put under the care of the welfare office.”

However, police have not yet provided a satisfactory explanation on how Onoufriou managed to get hold of his son.

The fugitive had managed to get his son from his mother’s home in Limassol on Monday night.

A police source said the child was picked up by a close associate of the fugitive but could not say why there was no guard posted at the Mesa Yitonia home.

Onoufriou was on the run since last Thursday, when police officers tried to search his residence on suspicion that he was stashing weapons.

According to police, Onoufriou, armed with an assault rifle, fired shots in the air and fled.

Back in 1996 Onoufriou was sentenced to 18 years in jail for the attempted murder of a judge in Limassol.

In 2012 he was named in a plot to murder then Attorney-general Petros Clerides but the charges were later dropped.

 

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