Filipinos enraged by Cyprus murders
Hundreds of Cypriots and migrants have protested outside Cyprus’ presidential palace to mourn seven women and girls who police say a military officer confessed to killing and to question if the authorities failed to investigate thoroughly when foreigners were reported missing.
Cyprus has 80 unsolved missing cases dating back to 1990.
The names of the victims and those of the missing women were read out. Placards condemned “sexist, misogynist and racist” attitudes towards women, often Filipinos, who work as housekeepers or in other low-paying jobs.
A Greek 35-year-old Cypriot National Guard captain, Nicos Metaxas, is in custody facing several murder charges.
He is due to appear in court today (Saturday) for a hearing.
Metaxas reportedly met at least two of the victims on dating website Badoo.
Cyprus police told a court that Metaxas admitted to strangling one of the victims after having sex with her.
“I felt obliged to do something for these women, all the missing women, all the killed women,” protest organiser Maria Mappouridou said. “I think deep down, all that we want, what everybody wants, is justice.”
The Federation of Filipino Organisations in Cyprus chairwoman Ester Beatty said she hoped the murders raised awareness about migrant rights.
Cyprus has a sizable Filipino population.
A week ago Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, from the Philippines, was found in an abandoned mineshaft, triggering an investigation that led to the captain’s arrest.
Tiburcio and her six-year-old daughter had been missing since May 2018 and arrested the army officer after studying her online messages.
The police also found the body of fellow Filipino 28-year-old Arian Palanas Lozano in the flooded mineshaft 32km west of Nicosia.
Metaxas told detectives about four more victims at a military firing range.
A woman, who according to the suspect was of Nepalese or Indian descent, was found buried at the site.
Three other victims so far are a 31-year-old Filipino woman who has purportedly been missing since December 2017, Maricar Valtez Arquiola, and Romanian Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, and her eight-year-old daughter Elena Natalia Bunea, reported missing since September 2016.
Five British specialists, including a coroner, psychiatrist and investigators who specialise in multiple murders, have travelled to Cyprus to help the investigation.
The Cypriot authorities retrieve bodies at a mineshaft. Picture credit: YouTube