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Cyprus: Serial killings of seven foreigners spark horror, anger at police

Cyprus: Serial killings of seven foreigners spark horror, anger at police: The “first serial killings” in Cyprus including seven foreign women and girls murdered, some dumped in a toxic lake, have provoked horror and sparked accusations of police racism. The Mediterranean island’s press has slammed official failings over the murders, since mid-April, which 35-year-old army officer Nicos Metaxas has allegedly confessed to carry out.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Army officer Nicos Metaxas has allegedly confessed to carrying out the murder of seven foreign women and girls
  • Police failing to follow up missing report of all seven allowed alleged killer to carry on for three years
  • The victims were four Filipinas, including a mother and her six-year-old daughter, a Romanian woman and her eight-year-old daughter, and a woman reported to be Nepalese

Andreas Kapardis, a criminologist and emeritus professor at the University of Cyprus, said the killings were first such case since the island won its independence in 1960. He said, “For Cypriots, discovering a serial murderer in their own society is… unique.”

According to the reports, the victims were four Filipinas, including a mother and her six-year-old daughter, a Romanian woman, and her eight-year-old daughter, and a Nepalese woman.

All the women had been reported missing, but police failed to follow up the cases, that encouraged and allowed the alleged killer to carry on for nearly three years.

“The more the investigation advanced, the more it became clear that the police botched the searches because these were immigrant women,” said Maria Mappouridou, who has organised protests over authorities’ handling of the cases.

She further added, “The killings “hit many of our weak spots — our relationship with women, immigrants and the lack of care of the police.”

The discovery of five bodies in just a few weeks has shaken the popular holiday island’s normally stable political landscape. The justice minister has been forced to resign and President Nicos Anastasiades has fired the police chief as well.

The head of state criticised the police for “apparent negligence and dereliction of duty” and acknowledged that better initial investigations could have prevented some of the killings.

The Cyprus Mail has reported that police fobbed off pleas to investigate individual disappearances by claiming the women had left the island via the north — a breakaway Turkish-backed republic that remains unrecognised by the international community.

The paper said in a recent editorial, “If the police had done their job… five lives could have been spared. Perhaps the police’s utter disregard…reflects the attitude of our society.”