A `miracle` in Neachorio Kythrea…
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A `miracle` happens and while the bulldozer is digging for the basis of the construction of a new house, the scoop hits the mass grave hidden there… The bulldozer operator stops immediately, the one having the construction must have a humanitarian heart that he orders the construction to stop and informs the police and the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee immediately. As a result of the `miracle` in the construction site in Neachorio Kythrea (Minarelikeuy) the remains of eight `missing persons` are found.
The excavation team of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee immediately goes there to start exhuming the remains of the eight `missing` persons from the construction site.
This really is a `miracle` - we had come here exactly three years ago together with relatives of some of the `missing` persons from this area. We had shown the area to the officials of the Missing Persons' Committee and had told them the stories around this place. In a house here five persons had been killed and their bodies had remained in the yard of the house for three months, covered with some soil. We had gone with a witness who had seen this – later one the exhumation team would dig around here but had only found a few remains. The mass grave found now as a result of a `miracle` is not farther than perhaps 40-50 meters from where we had gone. If the construction of a new house hadn't been started here, perhaps this mass grave would never have been found or would have been found only as a result of a coincidence. That's why such a `miracle` would be welcome by the relatives of `missing` persons buried here.
We had come to this area on the 3rd of December, 2010 together with relatives of `missing persons` from Neachorio Kythrea. My dear friend Maria Georgiadou from Kythrea and Fedra from Neachorio Kythrea had helped to gather the relatives so we could visit and they could show us what they knew about various burial sites. We had visited the exhumation site where the remains of seven in one mass grave and two in another had been exhumed and had laid flowers there. Maria had brought white chrysanthemums and Fedra too, had flowers… It was Fedra's father in law who had been `missing` from the area where we laid flowers – a smiling, hardworking, typical Cypriot woman, Fedra was full of love and care and she would pick up the phone and call Angeliki and the others in order to help to show possible burial sites… Fedra had called me after reading one of my articles in POLITIS about the mass grave that one of my readers had shown and the seven and the two, a total of nine `missing` had been found. From my description, she had thought one of them might be her father in law. We had visited her house with Maria Georgiadou who would translate for me what Fedra was saying since she could not speak English. So while talking that day in November 2010, there came out more information about other possible burial sites and that's when we started organizing the group of relatives to come with us to show what they knew. That's how we had gone to Neachorio Kythrea on the 3rd of December 2010.
On our way to the village Angeliki, a nice old lady from the village had told me what happened. In a house five persons had been killed. They had been in a house and the father of Angeliki, Stelios Papoutsos, together with George Stekkas had gone out of the house as they heard some soldiers had come and called them to come out. They were shot and killed as they got out of the house. The soldiers wanted to `search` the house and old Grigoris and his old wife Chrisanti had been taken out of the house and shot dead on the veranda. Maritsa Efthihis, an old woman who could not get out of the house was shot and killed where she was. Then they had wrapped her in a blanket and took her out. She had been the mother of Eleni who had come with us to the village.
They had taken the villagers to the church close to the house and they had stayed in the church for the night. Next day when they came out of the church, they had seen that the bodies of these five Greek Cypriots were in the yard of the house and they would remain where they are for almost three months. Then, they would be covered with soil.
That day we had explored the area, going to the spot where the remains of the five `missing` had stayed for three months. An exhumation had been done in this area some time ago but not in the spot where Angeliki is showing – near a palm tree, the remains of three `missing persons` had been found, two women and a man. The officials of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee would explore the area that Angeliki is showing…
Before we would leave that day, a Turkish Cypriot would approach us and tell us that the possible burial site had been `emptied` years ago. Still the area would need to be explored…
And finally, after three years from that visit, the `miracle` happens and the remains of eight `missing persons` are found in a mass grave where a house is going to be built. It is quite possible that among the eight are the five persons who had been killed in the house that Angeliki had told us about. But only through DNA we would know for sure who they might be.
There are two other `missing persons` from this area –at the funeral of the Zervos and Kontos families earlier this year to bury the remains of seven `missing` persons found in the mass grave that one of my readers had shown us, I had met Gogoulla from the village – after the funeral we had started talking and she had told me about her grandmother Rodou and her grandfather George who had been `missing` from Neachorio Kythrea. I would meet Gogoulla and we would go to the village so that she could show me her grandfather's house – I would meet her to interview her about her `missing` grandparents – the last time they had been seen alive was the night when everyone had been gathered in the church – very close to the mass grave that has been found by a `miracle` recently… So we would wonder with Gogoulla whether her `missing` grandparents might have been buried there… Again only through DNA we would know for certain…
Photo: This is where the `miracle` happened and the bulldozer found the mass grave…
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 6th of October 2013, Sunday.