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Cyprus soldiers to swell Civil Defence numbers

Cyprus Civil Defence will be beefed up by as many as 60 National Guard conscripts that receive exemption from military duty.

In line with new policy attempting to stamp out draft-dodging, a five-member committee of experts -, including medical doctors – will evaluate cases of conscripts who believe they are psychologically unable to do regular National Service.

Those approved by the committee will be sent to the Civil Defence instead but will also have to serve for 18 or 19 months instead of the usual 14 months.

Briefing Parliament recently, deputy commander of civil defence Lucas Hadjimichael said Nicosia’s section could absorb 36 soldiers and those in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, and the Famagusta district, six each.

These group of conscripts will wear Civil Defence uniforms instead of military ones and be given the opportunity to rise within Civil Defence ranks. They will be expected to serve the same amount of hours as the regular national guardsmen although these will be distributed differently.

Soldiers are at their camps for 71 and a half hours per week between May 1 and September 30, and for 63 and half hours per week between October 1 and April 30. These hours could fall on any day, including the weekends and public holidays, and include late night ‘shifts’.

Those serving at the Civil Defence, however, will be on duty between 7am and 3pm, Monday to Friday, making up 40 hours per week. The remaining time will be made up through their participating in training and exercises and through manning Civil Defence stations in the afternoons.

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