Sierra Leone family given temporary permit to stay in Cyprus following public outcry

The family of an ex-footballer were on Friday offered temporary residence permits by the Cyprus government for humanitarian reasons, after their deportation was ordered.

According to Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, former player Mohamed Kamara from Sierra Leone has been living in Cyprus since 1992 with his wife, when he was signed on to play with the Salamina football club.

The Interior Ministry said it is granting a special residence permit to Mohamed Kamara and his family, following a public outcry at the announcement of their deportation.

Kamara, a former Cyprus first-division professional footballer was ordered to be deported along with his wife and three children aged 14, 11, and 5. They have since had three children, between the ages of three and 13, learned fluent Greek, and converted to Christianity.

Kamara and his wife have been living in Cyprus since 1992 when Nea Salamina signed him to play for its first team. The family’s children were all born in Cyprus, attend local schools and speak Greek fluently.

The deportation was made public on Wednesday by former Akel MP and former Nea Salamina chairman Diofantos Chrysostomou.

Following public reactions, including a protest by the children’s schoolmates, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris instructed the Ministry to give the Kamaras a temporary permit to stay in Cyprus, until the end of July 2023.

An announcement from the Interior Ministry noted that the Kamara couple had several opportunities over the years to make their stay in Cyprus legal, “which not only they did not take advantage of but ignored.” As a result, their status changed to illegal, the Ministry said.

However, the announcement continued, taking into consideration the best interest of the children, the Interior Minister gave instructions to grant a special residence permit to the family until the end of July 2023, when the current school year will be completed.

Until then, Kamara and his wife are urged to apply to the Migration and Civil Registry Department to secure a residence permit and make their stay in Cyprus legal.

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