Nicosia police said on Tuesday they were investigating premeditated murder following the discovery of the body of a woman in the buffer zone near Athienou.
The body, believed to be that of a foreign national, was found at 11am in a shallow grave in a field in the buffer zone near Athienou and the Turkish Cypriot Louridjina village, police said.
A 32-year-old third-country national was arrested on suspicion of premediated murder, following witness testimony against him.
Nicosia police and UN officers secluded the scene for investigation.
State pathologists Orthodoxos Orthodoxou and Angeliki Papeta examined the body and the scene.
Reports said the body was found when a farmer ploughed the field late on Sunday. However, he did not notice the woman, but police received information from a third person concerning the body. After police found the body, they alerted the farmer, Giorgos Parpas, of the discovery.
He told state broadcaster CyBC that police asked him to go to the field. “I came here, and I was told there was a body in my field.”
He said the body was dragged several meters during works to cultivate the field. “We saw something, a black material, we did not realise what it was,” Parpas said.
He said it seems the body must have been transferred there recently judging by footprints visible from a nearby field leading to where the body had initially been.
The woman was buried in a makeshift grave and wrapped in plastic bags, reports added.
Sigma TV reported that the suspect was named to police by a close friend who had helped him transfer the body to the buffer zone.
According to Sigma, the woman knew the 32-year-old, and, after the crime, her body was dumped in the sewerage pit of an abandoned building in Nicosia.
Five months later the suspect transferred the body to Athienou with the help of the friend who reported him to the authorities.
A postmortem, to be completed at a later stage, is expected to reveal the exact cause of her death.