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Cyprus

Refugees moved to temporary Kokkinotrimithia camp (Updated)

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Fifty-one refugees believed to have arrived in the north from Turkey by boat and who crossed through the buffer zone at Limnitis, have been accommodated at a reception centre in the Kokkinotrimithia area and are in good health, civil defence officials said on Wednesday.

The group consists of 33 men, three women, and 15 children, most of them aged five and six.

“The 51 are at the moment in the Kokkinotrimithia area where a camp has been created,” said civil defence spokeswoman Olivia Michaelidou said. “There are tents, it’s a temporary area for provision of hospitality providing food, water, medical attention. They have been given clothing, footwear and there are officers from the welfare department mainly for the children. There is supervision from the police and the Cyprus Red Cross is present supplying anything else that is needed.”

Michaelidou said the arrival of the refugees was “programmed as we had information from other persons living in Cyprus who had arrived previously using the same method, who are now asking for political asylum.”

“All are very good health wise though some on Tuesday suffered mild dehydration and were offered the necessary treatment at Kato Pyrgos hospital.”

Nine men were arrested in connection with the arrival of an original group of 55, apparently Syrians, who arrived in Kato Pyrgos on Tuesday.

“All refugees were taken to the Kato Pyrgos police station to verify their identity,” police said. Following investigations, it emerged that four men from the newly arrived group had been deported in the past from the island. In addition, one of those four and another man are believed to have been steering the boat. All five were arrested.

Police also arrested four men who were located on Tuesday morning in two cars in Mansoura, near Kato Pyrgos. It later emerged that two of them had relatives among the group.

The remaining refugees spent the night in the gym of the Kato Pyrgos primary school where the civil defence in cooperation with the local community council offered them meals and clothing, while arrangements were made to transfer them to Kokkinotrimithia.

Some of the refugees who were slightly injured on the rocks were transferred to Kato Pyrgos hospital.

According to reports the marine police located a boat with refugees at around noon on Tuesday and when they approached it, it changed course and headed towards Morphou Bay in the north.

Some two hours later, refugees reportedly began to arrive through the buffer zone with much difficulty as the area is rocky. Police said that they had received information at around 3.10pm on the arrival of immigrants in an area between Kato Pyrgos and Limnitis.

Marine patrols were increased last month in the shoreline off Kato Pyrgos village, after authorities received a tip-off that people smugglers were planning to drop 400 migrants off the coast.

Thirty immigrants of Syrian origin in total arrived in the Tylliria area from Mersin, Turkey in the first two weeks of August on two separate occasions, seeking asylum.

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said that authorities believe that there was an organised plan in place and that the increased patrols would help trace immediately any boats transporting immigrants.

On Monday it was reported in the north that 58 other migrants were arrested by the Turkish coastguard on Sunday reportedly also on their way to Cyprus.

 

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