Last year, the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) identified the remains of 20 Greek Cypriots and nine Turkish Cypriots who were on the list of missing persons, the Greek Cypriot member of the committee Leonidas Pantelides told the Cyprus News Agency on Tuesday.
The identity of the remains of eight fallen soldiers was also established.
A total of 79 excavations were carried out by the CMP last year, during which the bodies of 18 people were recovered.
Moreover, the committee’s efforts were aided by four researchers from the University of Wisconsin, two of whom are stationed in Cyprus, with the other two working remotely from the US.
The researchers have contributed to the work of the CMP with special geo-radars and special drones, which are able to record underground footage.
“The researchers were invited in cooperation with the US embassy in Cyprus,” Pantelides added.
“Two of them have been in the country since December 28, carrying out land surveys and training our staff here.”
They are currently operating in six different areas, both in the Republic and in the north.
Pantelides added that the underground drone footage has been instrumental to the recovery of missing persons, as the special cameras can detect the presence of bodies more accurately before proceeding with the excavation efforts.
He also expressed confidence that in 2022 there can be better results from the CMP’s efforts.
“There are mass graves with dozens of individuals buried there that have not yet been located and we hope to find them at some point.
He said there are around 300 sites yet to be studied.
“Not all of them will lead to the discovery of missing persons. Some may be archaeological discoveries, while other may not bear results at all,” he explained.
Furthermore, Pantelides said that bicommunal crews of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are also at work to discover more bodies.
These crews are currently working in Voni, Agia, Spathariko, Templos and Lefkoniko. There are also plans to dispatch more crews in Omorphita in the near future.