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Arrested Turkish national suspected member of people smuggling network

April 18, 2019 at 3:12pm
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A Turkish national who was arrested after police found 46 irregular migrants near Akaki was remanded in custody for eight days by Nicosia district court on Thursday.

The Cyprus News Agency said the 20 year old is suspected of belonging to a network which smuggles Syrian refugees from Mersina in Turkey to the occupied areas and from there across the buffer zone to the government controlled areas.

He was arrested on Wednesday night when trying to run away from police. The 46 migrants, all men, have been taken to the Kokkinotrimithia reception centre. Six of them are underage.

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

They told police they had come by boat to a port in the occupied north from Mersina and from there were taken to the buffer zone and guided into the government controlled areas. 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 the government controlled areas illegally from that specific location.

He added that the description given by the migrants of the people who had helped them cross into the government controlled areas 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 the government controlled areas.

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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46 irregular migrants picked up at Akaki, one arrest for people smuggling