Fragments of bones belonging to Greek commandos buried in Nicosia

Fragments of bones belonging to 15 Greek commandos on board the Noratlas plane, that were unearthed last year and could not be matched, were buried today in Nicosia, in line with the wish of their relatives.

The Noratlas plane carrying soldiers from Crete, in the wake of Turkey’s invasion in Cyprus, in July 1974, was brought down by friendly fire and crushed in the outskirts of Nicosia. The bodies of 16 soldiers were collected from the site, the bodies of the remaining 15 commandos were buried, however, along with the plane that was carrying them, in what has later become a military cemetery and a war memorial, known as Tymvos Makedonitissas.

The remains of the 15 commandos were unearthed last year and were returned to their relatives. Small fragments of bones that could not be matched were placed today in three wooden chests, covered with the Greek and Cypriot flags and after a brief religious ceremony, they were interred at the top of the cemetery.

Speaking during the ceremony, Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Fotis Fotiou said that the struggle to shed light on the fate of missing persons will continue. These three chests containing fragments of bones will be buried here, according to the will of their relatives, Fotiou added, and paid his respects to the dead.

He added that the identification of three more soldiers that were inside the Noratlas plane, is still pending. We hope to have the answers soon, in order to brief their families said Fotiou.

The Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, representatives of the Greek Embassy, the Church of Cyprus, the National Guard and the Hellenic Force in Cyprus, all laid wreaths at the end of the ceremony.

In statements after the ceremony, Fotiou also said that scientific processes concerning the remains of those killed on board the Greek patrol ship Faethon, in 1964, were completed and their relatives will be informed soon.

In the next few days, all relatives will be briefed about the results he said, adding that it is up to them to decide if they prefer their loved ones to remain in Cyprus or to be transferred for burial to Greece.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency