Cyprus Mail

Eight migrants moved to reception centre after three days in police station  

File photo: The refugee camp at Kokkinotrimithia (Christos Theodorides)

Eight migrants from Syria who arrived earlier in the week through the north, had to stay at the Xylofagou police station for three days until space was found for them at the temporary reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia, authorities said on Thursday.

The group, all men aged up to 32 years, including an unaccompanied 17-year-old boy, crossed to the government-controlled areas from an unknown spot and were found in Avgorou village in the Famagusta district early on Monday morning by police.

According to the Famagusta police spokesperson, Andreas Constantinou, they were taken to the Xylofagou police station for identification, but, due to lack of space at the temporary reception centre for migrants in Kokkinotrimithia, they remained at the police station.

Due to the pandemic, when migrants arrive, they are placed in a special area of the Kokkinotrimithia reception centre for a 14-day self-isolation.  Due to lack of space, however, the group remained at the police station until Thursday afternoon when they were transferred to Kokkinotrimithia in the Nicosia district.

The cabinet last week approved renting a building to house undocumented migrants, as reception centres were full.

The interior ministry had said the arrival of migrants from Turkey continued, with their numbers exceeding the capabilities of the island’s reception centres. It added that it was expected that the building would be ready to house a substantial number of undocumented migrants soon.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, asylum seekers were admitted to the Pournara migrant centre for three days before undergoing health tests and then being released.

Since the pandemic, many migrants have not been released from the centre. This includes those who cannot give the authorities a specific address.

As the camp is overcrowded, some asylum seekers arriving on the island over the last week have been stranded on the streets. Most of them were men from Nigeria or Cameroon who arrived in Cyprus from Turkey through the north.


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