Group of 36 irregular immigrants arrive through occupied part of Cyprus

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-08 04:04:22|Editor: yan
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NICOSIA, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- A group of 36 irregular immigrants arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday after sailing, authorities said in a statement.

The group, 35 men and one woman, arrived on board a small vessel which beached in an area controlled by Turkish occupation troops on the northwest coast of Cyprus, the statement said.

Police said they had been keeping an eye on the refugee boat after it was spotted on radar about nautical miles off the coast as it was sailing towards a fishing port where many other refugee vessels arrived before.

When the boat came near to the coast it changed course and bitched near a village in the region controlled by Turkish soldiers.

Several hours later the immigrants crossed into the government controlled part of Cyprus by walking through a mountain path.

The group of refugees was one of many who arrived in Cyprus this year, after paying between 2,000 and 3,000 euros to traffickers who operate outside the island.

The refugees were processed at a local police station and then were taken to a refugee center near Nicosia as their asylum requests are being examined.

Cypriot authorities estimate that up to 4,000 refugees, mostly from Syria, have arrived illegally in the island this year, further exacerbating a refugee problem for the small EU member state.

An estimated 16,000 immigrants have asked for political asylum in Cyprus during the last few years, the third largest concentration of refugees in EU countries relative to the population of the island which is just over one million.