Cyprus officials concerned after 4 migrant boats arrive in 48 hours

Cyprus officials concerned after 4 migrant boats arrive in 48 hours

Cypriot authorities have raised alarm bells after four boats carrying Syrian and Lebanese migrants arrived in waters of Cyprus within a 48-hour span.

According to police, a total of 123 migrants are on the four vessels and about half of them have been permitted to disembark.

Some 21 migrants remain aboard a damaged boat (engine failure) that is adrift off Cyprus´ southeastern tip. Authorities said three women and nine children were taken off the boat and transferred to a Cypriot hospital as a precaution.

Some 33 migrants aboard a boat that police intercepted off the southern coast on Saturday afternoon, are returning back to Lebanon.

Meanwhile, 51 migrants on Saturday were transferred to a reception center after their boat from Lebanon reached a rocky beach that’s inside a U.N. controlled buffer zone.

U.N. peacekeepers transferred the 35 men, 5 women and 11 children to Cypriot custody. Four men remain in custody over suspicion they were the boat’s crew.

Another 20 Syrian migrants – 19 men, a woman and a child – were taken to a reception center on Sunday after being picked up near the buffer zone.

Cyprus´ Interior Minister Nicos Nouris told Alpha that an urgent meeting would be convened on Monday to assess the unfolding situation.