Cyprus Mail

CMP finds bone fragments in two villages in the north

File photo

Bone fragments were found on Tuesday by crews of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in two villages in the north of Cyprus, Gerani and Templos.

The CMP is searching for the remains of a total of three Greek Cypriots missing since 1974 in the villages.

In Templos, bone fragments were located in a well by the CMP as early as last week, while more are still being found as the crews continue to dig.

At the moment, six CMP crews are operational on the island. Five are stationed in the north of Cyprus – two in Lapithos, one in Morphou, one in Templos and one in Gerani – while the sixth crew is searching in Strovolos for the remains of Turkish Cypriots missing since 1964.

According to the CMP, there have also been findings in one of the Lapithos locations, where the digging which began in mid-February is ongoing.

Remains have yet to be found in the remaining locations, while a site in Mia Milia is also expected to be opened in the coming days.

In 2018 the remains of 13 people were found, the year before that 47 and before that 107.

With the number of identified remains decreasing over time, the CMP has recently stepped up measures aiming toward getting witnesses to provide information as to where the remainder of missing persons from both sides may be.

Earlier in the month, the CMP announced that it would be launching a major communication campaign with companies in Nicosia and Kyrenia, as well as more localised initiatives, through which they aim to talk to the mukhtars and the villagers in areas where there are still unsolved cases.

In mid-March, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe urged Turkish authorities to assist the CMP in any way it can, providing it with “unhindered access to all areas of interest, including military zones, located in the northern part of Cyprus and to provide the CMP proprio motu [on its own initiative] with any information from the relevant archives, including military archives, in their possession on burial sites and places of possible relocation of remains.”

Despite its past pledges, Turkey refuses to open its military archives. The archives are believed to contain information on mass graves, as well as on the collection of bodies from battlefields in the summer of 1974, particularly around Kyrenia in the northern coast of Cyprus.

Last week, a CMP delegation flew to the UK to hold a series of meetings with British officials and members of the Cypriot diaspora, in an attempt to extract any information that could lead to establishing details on the whereabouts of missing Cypriots.

The CMP has identified and returned the remains of 927 persons, out of 2,002, within a 13-year period.

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