The missing twin of a three-year-old girl found wandering alone in the buffer zone near Athienou in the early hours on Tuesday was found later in the afternoon after a search by UN peacekeepers and Cyprus police took most of the day.
The little girl was found at Pournara migrant reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia and both children were handed over to their parents at the Ledra Palace crossing in the presence of welfare officers in the afternoon.
“A woman, an illegal immigrant, seems to have crossed from the occupied areas at the same time as her parents and the twin girls tried to cross. However, under currently unclear circumstances, it seems that the woman took one of the children with her,” police spokesman Christos Andreou said.
He added that “it seems that the woman and the three-year-old girl were picked up by an unknown person in a car which took them to Pournara in Kokkinotrimithia”.
The woman was being questioned over how she ended up with the girl and who had taken them to Pournara.
Earlier in the day, he told the Cyprus News Agency that the parents of the twins had been identified.
Andreou said that UN officers had used a helicopter to search for the minor in the buffer zone, while police were carrying out their own search within the buffer zone near the area where the second girl was found.
The second child was eventually found at Pournara migrant reception centre.
The first child was found by members of a UN patrol at about 4am on the old road of Pyroi-Larnaca. Police officers were called and transferred the minor to the Athienou police station.
Athienou police alerted the deputy ministry of social welfare about the girl and a welfare officer arrived to take the child, who was then transferred to Larnaca general hospital to make sure she was in good health.
In a written statement, the social welfare deputy ministry said it immediately activated the relevant protocols and placed the girl under their protection.
“The child is provided from the outset with all care and assistance services and all appropriate measures are taken to protect the child, with the involvement of all relevant professionals in the decision-making process,” the social services said.