A 34-year-old migrant has been taken into custody for seriously injuring two people during the relocation operation in Chlorakas, police reported on Wednesday, while some migrants have already been bused to Kofinou.

According to Paphos police spokesman and CID chief, Michalis Nikolaou, the 34-year-old will be charged before the court, for offenses of resisting lawful arrest and causing grievous and actual bodily harm to two immigration officers.

One officer suffered damage to his arm tendon and the second a fractured neck vertebra.

The operation to evict tenants from the infamous Ayios Nikolaos apartment complex was completed on Tuesday, during which services recorded the details of 81 people, after 250 apartments were checked.

During the operation two arrests were made of migrants suspected to be illegal, one of whom was subsequently released, while the second is the 34-year-old who is to appear before court for assault.

Speaking to Cyprus Mail Nikolaou detailed that of the 81 people, 22 have so far been relocated to the Kofinou centre. Asked if these were prioritised based on vulnerability status, Nikolaou said that this was not the case.

“These were people who agreed voluntarily to be rehoused sooner than the August 25 deadline,” Nikolaou explained.

The remaining 59 migrants are still temporarily living in the Chlorakas complex, as the recording of their status – completed within a day – had been programmed for conclusion on Friday.

All 81 migrants whose details were recorded, were legal asylum seekers or had recognised refugee status, Nikolaou clarified.

“After Friday the rest of the decisions of the Presidential meeting will be implemented,” Nikolaou said, that is, giving a 15-day period for securing alternative accommodation before their forced eviction to Kofinou. Those arriving at the centre will also be offered the option to be voluntarily deported.

Eighty police officers from Paphos CID, the motorised crowd-control unit, and the immigration services, were at the site at 6am on Tuesday to carry out the closure and relocation operation.

Later on Wednesday, deputy minister for social welfare Marilena Evangelou said that vulnerable people are being transferred to a safe living space.

Evangelou said officials from her ministry’s Paphos district offices and the main Nicosia offices participated in the registering of people to be transferred.

Families with children have been identified, as well as other people who fall into the ‘vulnerable’ category, and procedures are being carried out to transfer them to another place that is safer for them and their children, she added. “We are talking about families with minor children and pregnant women.

“As far as the social welfare deputy ministry is concerned, we have the obligation to identify vulnerable people, as has been done since the registration yesterday, and we are making sure that they are transferred carefully to a safe place to live,” she reiterated.

Questions were raised as to the apparent discrepancy between the figure reported and reports of hundreds – up to 600 – living at the complex.

Asked about claims of tenants fleeing the complex overnight, Nikolaou confirmed to Cyprus Mail that “it is known that some residents had fled”, while the figure was reported to be in the region of 150.

“We do not know exactly how many tenants were originally living in the buildings, therefore we have no data on how many may have fled,” Nikolaou stated.

Locals reported seeing people fleeing the buildings before the operation started at dawn on Tuesday, while overnight reports emerged of cars arriving from neighbouring villages to collect migrants who had dispersed in the surrounding area.

Suspicions are raised that the bulk of those who fled may be migrants who arrived illegally in the Republic, attempting to avoid detection and forced deportation, who will now simply settle in the vicinity.

On Tuesday police were said to be investigating the matter and conducting searches to round-up those who attempted to leave.

The operation happened after Monday’s intervention by President Nikos Christodoulides and following a meeting with the attorney-general and several ministers.

The meeting decided on prompt enforcement of a pending health and safety decree issued two years prior, removal of legal asylum seekers to Kofinou, and deportation of illegal migrants, in an effort to tackle the longstanding problem.