A lithe girl’s whereabouts remained unknown on Tuesday after UN peacekeepers found her sibling in the buffer zone before dawn, with authorities still searching but not ruling out she may be with other adults on either side of the divided island.
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UN officials and Greek Cypriot police have been searching for a 3-year-old child who was picked up by peacekeepers in the buffer zone near Athienou on Tuesday, with reports saying the girl got separated from her parents and twin sister during an attempt by a group to cross from north into south early morning around 4am.
Police spokesperson Christos Andreou said the parents of the two children have been identified in the north, where local media said they went to Turkish Cypriot police and reported their two girls missing.
'It is possible that the child got picked up by another adult during the attempt, but we are not taking any chances, so we are still searching the area' Andreou told Knews
According to Andreou, Greek Cypriot police have learned that the parents tried to cross into the south a day earlier but did not succeed, with a follow-up attempt taking place early morning under the cover of darkness when they got separated from the kids.
“It is possible that the child got picked up by another adult during the attempt, but we are not taking any chances, so we are still searching the area,” Andreou told Knews.
Athienou officials also put the word out asking local farmers to keep an eye for the little girl as well as check their sheds or other areas where the young child might have sought refuge.
Greek Cypriot social welfare officers have taken custody of the missing girl’s sister, who reportedly was taken to a hospital for medical exams.
A social welfare administrator told media the little girl will remain in the state’s care for as long as it is necessary.
Search parties and a helicopter used in the search did not yield any results by Tuesday afternoon, with police saying they remained hopeful that they could find her before dark if she was not already taken by adults out of the buffer zone.