Remains of 29 missing Cypriots identified in 2021

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The UN-backed Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) identified the remains of 37 individuals, 29 missing persons (20 Greek Cypriots and 9 Turkish Cypriots) and eight deceased in 2021

Eighteen individuals were exhumed during 79 excavations.

A team from the US University of Wisconsin is in Cyprus to support the work of the Committee by conducting research using a ground-penetrating radar and special cameras placed on drones, which spot possible underground anomalies.

“The team comprises four persons, two who have come to Cyprus and two who work remotely.

“They were invited to come in cooperation with the US embassy, and the two individuals are in Cyprus since December 28 for nine days, they conduct research, while they have also trained our personnel,” Greek Cypriot on the CMP Leonidas Pantelides told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

Six sites in the Republic and the Turkish-occupied north of the island were indicated to the experts conducting their research using ground-penetrating radar and special cameras on drones that take pictures and spot possible underground anomalies.

“Once these anomalies are spotted, we will proceed with the excavations.”

Pantelides hoped 2022 would be more fruitful regarding the Committee`s work results.

“There are mass graves with dozens of people which have not been found yet, and we hope that we will find them at some point.

“We have some information, and we are trying to fulfil the research to be able to conduct excavations.”

Pantelides said that there are 300 sites to be excavated, while currently, findings related to 150-160 cases are being examined.

“This does not mean that they are all related to missing persons.”

Pantelides said crews are working in Voni, Ayia, where remains have been found, Spathariko, Templos, Lefkoniko (two crews) where the remains of three persons have been discovered and in Omorfita.

He expressed satisfaction that people are still coming forward to give information to the CMP.

Pantelides said research in the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) records is almost concluded; however, no particularly significant information has come up.

CMP statistics

According to CMP data, by December 31, 2021, 1183 missing persons were exhumed; 1023 were identified.

There are 2002 Cypriots listed as missing; just over half have been identified.

Out of 1510 Greek Cypriot missing persons, 732 were identified, and 778 are still missing.

Out of 492 Turkish Cypriot missing persons, 291 were identified, and 201 are still missing.

In 2020, 25 missing persons were identified, in 2019 42, in 2018 71, in 2017 117, in 2016 115 and 2015 61.

A Committee on Missing Persons was established in 1981, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying, and returning to their relatives the remains of missing persons from the 1963 and 1974 conflict.