Greek Cypriot police arrest Turkish national suspected of smuggling people into south Cyprus

A Turkish national has been arrested by Greek Cypriot police and remanded in custody for 8 days by a court in Nicosia after he helped 46 irregular migrants enter south Cyprus illegally. 

The accused was remanded by the court on Thursday.

According the report by the Cyprus News Agency, the 20 year old is suspected of belonging to a network which smuggles Syrian refugees from Mersin in Turkey to north Cyprus and from there across the buffer zone to south Cyprus. 

He was arrested on Wednesday night when trying to run away from police. The 46 migrants, all men, including six underage and from Syria have been taken to the Kokkinotrimithia reception centre.

Police told investigators that 29 irregular migrants were picked up in the same area on April 10 and another 40 on April 11.

They told police they had come by boat to a port in north Cyprus from Mersin and from there were taken to the buffer zone and guided into south Cyprus. They said they had paid $4000 to $5000 for the journey.

The police investigator said that more than 250 irregular migrants had recently crossed into south Cyprus illegally from that specific location.

He added that the description given by the migrants of the people who had helped them cross into the country resembled the suspect.

The suspect is under investigation for conspiracy to commit an offence and helping third country nationals to obtain illegal entry into the Republic of Cyprus in the period of April 10 to 17 on the Akaki-Avlona road.

Police said that the suspect had admitted during questioning that he and two Turkish Cypriots had helped the migrants to cross the buffer zone on foot into south Cyprus.

He said that statements will be taken from irregular migrants and there will also be a lineup to determine whether he is identified.


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