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Missing saddest part of 1974 says minister at funeral

ΥΠΑΜ Κηδεία Αγνοούμενου Ευάγγελου Ευαγγέλου
Defence Minister Vasilis Palmas at the funeral

The missing persons issue is the saddest aspect of the drama that marked Cyprus in the summer of 1974, Defence Minister Vasilis Palmas said on Sunday.

He was speaking at the funeral of Sergeant Evangelos Evangelos, who was previously missing, who fell during the Turkish invasion.

His sacrifice, “is the beacon that will guide our national steps in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem,” Palmas said.

Evangelou was born on July 20, 1954 in Nicosia, and after his school studies, in 1972 he joined the National Guard. He completed basic training with the rank of Sergeant and was assigned to the 70th Engineer Battalion, which was based at the BMH Camp in Nicosia.

Evangelou was among the 31 members of the 53 Engineer Company, who did not manage to return, when on August 6, 1974, the Turkish army launched a strong attack against the National Guard forces in the Lapithos-Karavas area.

On August 5, an Engineer Company led by Lieutenant Katsoulotos went to the Lapithos-Karavas area to execute, in broad daylight, the laying of a minefield. “A mission which, unfortunately, ended in tragedy,” Palmas said.

Although the minefield was laid almost entirely by the evening of August 5, the engineers were ordered to remain in front of the National Guard lines and within arm’s reach of Turkish troops to continue the next day.

On the morning of August 6, the Turkish army, which had previously been engaged in the accumulation of personnel and means in the area, launched an attack against the National Guard forces.

Of the National Guard, only 22 of the 53 men managed, some by swimming, to escape.

The names of several of them remain on the list of the missing, Palmas said.

“Where for 40 years the saddest aspect of the drama that stigmatised Cyprus in the summer of 1974 continues to take place,” he said.

We “will strengthen our will to continue the struggle for liberation and return to our ancestral homes,” the minister said.

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