By Evie Andreou
THE Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) made a plea on Thursday for information concerning the whereabouts of the remains of the missing persons from Assia and assured relatives that they were doing their best to find the remains of their loved ones.
Assia has around 84 people listed as missing between the ages of 11 and 84 years, with over 50 of them believed to have died in a mass execution along with Cypriots from other areas in August 1974. Their bodies were thrown into two wells.
The bodies were later removed by the Turkish army which handed over only part of the remains to the CMP which is tasked with identifying them.
A relative of an Assia missing person showed the committee a photo copy with just bone fractures of a few centimetres which had been given to families. The relative said that the CMP needed to show more respect to the relatives.
“We understand you and we respect you. It is the duty of the CMP when we identify even a bone fragment to inform the family; if we don’t it might be years before we find something else,” said CMP member Gulden Plumer Kucuk.
CMP member Paul-Henri Arni said that the removal of the remains was the second crime committed.
“The first crime is when they were executed, shot in the back,” Arni said.
He added that similar practices had taken place elsewhere.
“In the case of Assia 70 people were found in two wells, nine full skeletons, 61 were connected to deliberate removal. So, yes, the CMP delivers small bones,” said Nestoras Nestoros, another CMP member.
Nestoros said apart from Assia, there are 50 other cases of Greek Cypriots and 15 cases of Turkish Cypriots where small bones have been identified.
He said that families had already had funerals of their loved ones with what little remains they were given because it is unknown when the rest of the remains would be found.
“We even plan on digging up streets next year,” Nestoros said.
The CMP members stressed the importance of acquiring new knowledge on burial sites before it is too late since many people with information are of advanced age.
Arni said that over the last eight years 564 people have been identified including 93 that were not in the official missing persons list.