UK blamed for Cyprus migrants

Cyprus blamed authorities on the island’s British bases on Monday for failing to stop illegal immigrants entering from the Turkish-occupied north, after Cypriot police broke a large migrant-smuggling ring over the weekend. Justice Minister Doros Theodorou said better controls were needed at the Strovilia and Pergamos crossing points, which lie within the Dekeleia base and are manned by the base’s police, via which the ring sent migrants who sought political asylum in the south, claiming to be Turkish-Cypriots. «I am afraid control is lacking,» he said, adding that the British had refused to accept Cypriot police representatives at the crossing points. Agence France-Presse quoted a British spokesman as saying the bases were keen to stamp out human-trafficking, and would closely cooperate with Cypriot police. On Sunday, Cypriot police said they had broken up a gang that had smuggled over 500 migrants from the Middle East to Cyprus through Syria, Turkey and occupied northern Cyprus. Over 10 people have been arrested, including the Lebanese suspected ringleader.

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