Cyprus Mail

Migrants abandon boat, slip back into Republic on foot

Pournara migrant reception centre (File photo)

Nine migrants who were apparently persuaded by police to head towards the north after arriving with a boat near Capo Greco on Thursday later successfully entered the Republic, police said on Friday.

Police had received information on Thursday morning that a boat was located eight nautical miles southeast of Cape Greco.

Two police boats were sent to the area. After hours of negotiation, during which officers tried to dissuade the migrants from entering the Republic because of coronavirus dangers, they asked for food and water and said they would head for Famagusta port in the north.

They left around 3.30pm.

However, later in the day members of the immigration service spotted the seven men and two women near the Famagusta area buffer zone.

After landing with their boat in the buffer zone near Famagusta they walked a short distance to the south where they were picked up by members of the service.

They were recorded and tested for the coronavirus.

Depending on the results of the tests they will be taken to the Pournara reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia.

Later on Friday, a movement against racism raised a warning flag on Cyprus’ pushback of migrants, saying this week’s episode was the third since March.

“The excuse is the pandemic, while airports are open to countries where the coronavirus is rife,” a statement from the group said.

Citing the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, Racism Watch said: “wars have not ended during the pandemic and people continue to look for safety in other countries.”

Pushback of migrants was observed on March 20, when a boat with some 200 Syrians was not allowed entry and the second time on June 20, the statement added.


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