The remains of four resistance fighters killed during the 1974 coup in Cyprus were identified recently and will be returned to their families who were briefed on Wednesday by Commissioner Photis Photiou and his associate Xenophon Kallis.
Their remains, which were buried in a mass grave at Agios Nikolaos cemetery in Limassol, were exhumed in two phases in July and September 2022 and were identified through DNA at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics.
The four heroes who were included in a list of fallen soldiers fighting in the resistance are Christakis Kombou from Tsiflikouthkia area in Limassol, siblings Anastasis and Charalambos Christophi from Phikardou village and Pantelakis Charalambous from Lazanias village.
In July 1974 during the coup, they all used Charalambous’ vehicle to get to Limassol. At first, Kombou accompanied then President Archbishop Makarios from the Presidential Palace, when fighting broke out.
According to Kallis, who described the story of their capture to the press, Kombou then had to stay behind in the village of Klirou to assist a fellow policeman who got sick. Makarios was transported to Troodos.
After many obstacles, Kombou and the others managed to use Charalambous’ car and their plan was to reach Limassol.
They were arrested by EOKA B men, a paramilitary organization, near Pareklissia. According to information gathered by authorities, they were then transferred to Agios Tychonas landfill, where they were tortured and killed. They were then buried very carelessly but because of the smell, their remains were located a few days later and their families were notified.
The families buried their beloved at a mass grave in Agios Nikolaos cemetery and last July an exhumation procedure began and their remains were identified scientifically.
Their families were briefed today about the whole process, they will be given their remains and proper funerals will follow.
Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou told the press that it is the duty of the state to put an end to all these tragic aspects of the 1974 coup and the Turkish invasion.
He said that following this exhumation, he can say with certainty that Cyprus' exhumation program of recent years has largely been implemented.
He recalled the exhumations that took place for the remains of the soldiers on board the Noratlas military aircraft, the excavations at mass graves in Saints Constantinos and Eleni cemetery in Nicosia and the excavations at Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital.
Photiou said that we have an obligation toward all these heroes and their families so that they can finally have closure.
He said that the funerals will now take place and a monument in honor of these heroes may be erected.
Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974, five days after the legal government of the late Archbishop Makarios III was toppled by a military coup, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece.
Cyprus has remained divided since then. Numerous talks under the UN aegis failed to yield results. The latest round of talks took place in the summer of 2017 in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana.