Cypriot police search for more victims of suspected serial killer

By Michele Kambas NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cypriot police searched on Friday for more victims of a suspected serial killer amid mounting public accusations that authorities bungled investigations and failed to heed concern about the safety of women. Several hundred people attended a candlelit vigil in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on Friday evening, and observed a minute's silence for what are believed to be seven victims, all foreign women. The main opposition party, the left-wing AKEL, called for the resignation of the justice minister and police chief over their handling of the case

Reuters April 27, 2019 00:07:11 IST
Cypriot police search for more victims of suspected serial killer

Cypriot police search for more victims of suspected serial killer

By Michele Kambas

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cypriot police searched on Friday for more victims of a suspected serial killer amid mounting public accusations that authorities bungled investigations and failed to heed concern about the safety of women.

Several hundred people attended a candlelit vigil in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on Friday evening, and observed a minute's silence for what are believed to be seven victims, all foreign women.

The main opposition party, the left-wing AKEL, called for the resignation of the justice minister and police chief over their handling of the case.

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou and Police Chief Zacharias Chrysostomou have said there will be an investigation into any perceived shortcomings.

Police sources said the suspect, a 35-year-old army officer who has been in detention for a week, has confessed to seven killings. This would make it by far the worst peacetime crime committed against women on the island in living memory.

The bodies of three women, including two thought to be from the Philippines, have been recovered. Police sources said the suspect had indicated the location of the third body, found on Thursday, and had said the person was "either Indian or Nepali".

Police were combing three different locations west of the capital Nicosia in a search for more bodies.

A team of British detectives is due to arrive on the island on Monday to help with the investigation, police said.

"These women came here to earn a living, to help their families. They lived away from their families. And the earth swallowed them, nobody was interested," AKEL lawmaker Irene Charalambides told Reuters.

"This killer will be judged by the court but the other big question is the criminal indifference shown by the others when the reports first surfaced. I believe, as does my party, that the justice minister and the police chief should resign. They are irrevocably exposed."

Police have said they will investigate any perceived shortcomings in their handling of the case.

VULNERABILITY

One person who did attempt to alert the authorities over the disappearances, a 70-year-old Cypriot citizen, has said his motives were questioned by police.

Several hundred people gathered for Friday's vigil, organised on social media on Orthodox Good Friday which is one of the holiest dates on the Christian calendar.

"We are here ... for our victims. We ask for justice for all these girls that were brutally murdered. It is a very devastating time, because we are all just here to work," said Lissa Jataas, of the OBRERAS Empowered Filipino Migrant Movement in Cyprus.

"Nobody deserves this," she told Reuters, her voice breaking.

The bodies of the two Filipino women, reported missing in May and August 2018, were found in an abandoned mine shaft this month. Police discovered the body of the third woman at an army firing range about 14 km (9 miles) from the mine shaft.

Police are now searching for the six-year-old daughter of the first victim found, a Romanian mother who disappeared with her eight-year-old child in 2016, and a woman from the Philippines who vanished in December 2017.

(Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.