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Ten migrant boats arrive over three days

migrants coastguard
File photo: coast guard vessel

Ten boats carrying 476 irregular migrants have been intercepted in the last 72 hours, police said on Tuesday.

From these, nine people have been arrested on suspicion of people smuggling as they were piloting the boats, with efforts underway to locate the captain of a boat that arrived in Cyprus last Sunday.

All have been remanded in custody for eight days by the Famagusta district court.

During the early hours of Tuesday, the two latest boats arrived. The first boat, carrying 43 people (25 men, five women and 13 children, of which seven were unaccompanied) was intercepted at 12.55am.

The second boat, carrying 25 individuals (16 men, one woman and eight children, of which six were unaccompanied) was intercepted at 2.40 am.

All the migrants were taken to the Ayia Napa marina at around 4am, before they were transferred to the Pournara reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia.

Police arrested two people from Syria on board, aged 26 and 52, who appeared before the Famagusta district court on Tuesday.

Both boats departed from Lebanon and were located in the southeastern sea area of Cape Greco.

Three further arrests were made on Tuesday in connection with investigations into the arrival of three boats from Lebanon on Monday, a 17-year-old from Syria and two men from Lebanon, aged 22 and 36.

On top of these, four men from Syria, aged 18, 23, 26 and 43, were arrested on Sunday to assist police investigations regarding five boats spotted and intercepted off Cape Greco the same day.

On Tuesday, a snap National Security Council meeting heard that Cyprus is at a “breaking point” with the influx of migrants.

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