One of the barbed-wire metal gates installed in Peristerona has been destroyed as the local authorities remain puzzled as to what exactly happened.
A police source from the larger and neighbouring Astromeritis station confirmed the incident to the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday and that authorities are looking into it, but that they have no leads as to how it happened or what the motive, if any, may be.
“We can confirm the incident but there’s not much more that I can say at the moment,” the source said.
There did not appear to be a sense of urgency, however, as emphasis appeared instead be on simply replacing the gate.
Metal gates have been installed across swathes of farmland along the Green Line, bolstering barbed wire barriers installed last year – infuriating some locals who say that their freedom of movement is being restricted.
President of Peristerona community council Pantelis Kakoulli told the Cyprus Mail that a car may have accidentally hit the gate, knocking it over.
When asked what type of car would have been able to inflict such damage on the metal gate without being destroyed itself, Kakoulli offered that perhaps it was a tractor.
He said the incident appears to have happened on Monday night.
But it is also likely that a disgruntled resident ploughed a tractor into the gate, a local told the Cyprus Mail.
The barrier is part of the interior ministry’s policy to prevent irregular migrants who cross from the north into the government-controlled areas, with their favoured routes being near Peristerona and neighbouring communities.
Razor wire fencing has been erected along the buffer zone near Astromeritis, Peristerona and Akaki, with the aim being to cover about 11km to the defunct Nicosia airport.
The metal gates installed over the past year number about 20 in total, according to the most recent report, primarily to allow farmers access to land in the buffer zone.
Despite strong reactions from those in the impacted communities, such as Akaki which held a protest over the weekend, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris is pressing ahead with the policy and has asked for unity.