Cyprus Mail

Sixty Syrian migrants picked up off Cape Greco (updated)

migrant sits outside the kokkinotrimithia refugee camp on the outskirts of nicosia
File photo. Pournara

Four alleged traffickers were arrested on Monday after a boat carrying 60 migrants from Syria was intercepted in the Famagusta district earlier in the morning.

Police said the boat, carrying 40 men, seven women and 13 minors, had arrived from the north in Ayia Triada, Paralimni. It was intercepted at 16 nautical miles off the coast around 5.25am.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said their details were taken on site before they were transferred to the Pournara reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia.

Two of the women who were pregnant were taken to the Famagusta general hospital, police said later in a later statement.

Following investigations, police secured evidence against four people who were arrested, on suspicion of bringing the migrants in the government-controlled areas.

These concerned two 20-year-old men, a 22-year-old man and a 33-year-old man who are investigated for offences related to assisting illegal entry.

Earlier, Andreou had said that in 2020 police arrested 27 people for illegally bringing migrants into the republic, while in 2021 that number rose to 50. By August 24 this year 65 people smugglers have been arrested.

Government records show that so far this year 4,019 irregular migrants have been sent back home to safe countries, Andreou said.

Must returns have been to countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Georgia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, he added.

“The goal of most of the migrants who arrive in Cyprus is to go to countries in central Europe, such as Italy, France and Belgium”.

Meanwhile authorities are working to return migrants who arrived in Cyprus on two other vessels during the weekend back to Lebanon.

The interior ministry is set to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the recent rise in arrivals.



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