Following a tip-off early Wednesday that a group of migrants in a boat had landed illegally in Cyprus at Pigenia near Kato Pyrgos, police rushed to the scene, apprehending nine men trying to hide themselves.
Police believe the boat that brought the migrants to Cyprus from Mersin, Turkey was guided in by one of the nine. The men are aged between 18 and 44.
By the time police appeared, the boat had vanished, but three women and four children who were also on the vessel are believed to have been spirited away in a black Mercedes. Intensive investigations to locate them are being conducted.
Two of the men, who were found to be injured, were taken to hospital for treatment, with one of them appearing to be the Cyprus based, 35-year-old facilitator, who tried jumping from a high point to escape police. He underwent leg surgery and remains hospitalised.
The second was treated for a pre-existing injury, said to have been inflicted in Mersin.
The remaining seven were questioned by police, with four being transported to the Kofinou reception centre as they requested asylum.
The two injured men were arrested later Wednesday, as were three others and are due to be remanded Thursday.
Costas Michaelides, community leader of adjacent Kato Pyrgos village, expressed concern over incidents of illegal immigration into Cyprus and asked the interior ministry to strengthen the Cyprus port and marine police force.
Kato Pyrgos sits between the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus and Kokkina, an enclave to the west that serves as a military facility for the Turkish forces.
“From Pyrgos, the naked eye can see Turkey,” Michaelides said.
“This is why a stronger port and marine police are required.”