By Andria Kades
The 18 migrants of African and Asian origin arrested for illegal entry into the Republic will be deported, police said on Monday.
The migrants claim they were students at a university in northern Cyprus and had each paid 1000 US dollars to two smugglers to take them to Turkey.
From there, they were to go to a European country deputy police spokeswoman Nicoletta Tyrimou said.
One of them is a woman while the remaining 17 are men of various ages police said.
The migrants were arrested on Saturday at around 10pm after patrolling officers saw suspicious activity on the main Kiti-Mazotos road.
During questioning, they said that a week ago, two smugglers had driven them from the north to the government controlled areas.
The migrants were unable to indicate where they stayed until Saturday night when the smugglers took them to a Mazotos beach where a ferry boat was meant to pick them up.
“They were then meant to be taken on a boat to Turkey and from there their final destination would be a European country,” Tyrimou said.
“After several hours went by and the ferry did not appear, they abandoned the place and were found wandering in the streets.”
Asked why the migrants were brought to the Republic and had not gone to Turkey through the north which is obviously much closer, Tyrimou said,“They were tricked. They didn’t know it’s easier to go through there and followed what the smugglers told them.”
One is from Burundi, two are from Ghana, three are from Cameroon, three from Sierra Leone, one is from Ghambia, two are from New Guinea, two are from Congo, two from Cote d’Ivoire and two are from Pakistan.
No arrest warrant has been issued for the smugglers, police said and no date has yet to be set for the migrants’ deportation.
Fifteen remain at the Aradippou police station where they were detained while two are at the Kofinou police station and one at Oroklini police station.
The police immigration office continues investigations.