Cyprus sent back 81 migrants to the northern port city of Tripoli, in Lebanon, after they tried to illegally entered its territories, a provincial official told dpa on Wednesday.
“The Cypriot authorities returned the people on Tuesday. They were Syrian and Lebanese people who left the area of al-Mina [in Tripoli] to try to enter Cyprus illegally,” said Iman al-Rafei, secretary general of the crisis department at the Northern Lebanon Province.
She added that women and children were part of the group.
Al-Rafei said that Covid-19 tests are being carried out before the people are sent back to their homes.
The state-run Lebanese National News Agency said earlier this week that a Cypriot delegation is scheduled to head to Beirut to discuss ways to stop boats trafficking migrants from Lebanon to Cyprus.
The deteriorating Lebanese economic situation and the August 4 blast at Beirut’s port – which killed more than 190 people and wounded some 6,000 others – have prompted many Lebanese to try to find ways to leave the country to look for opportunities outside.
On Tuesday, Cyprus sent 45 migrants back hours after their arrival.
On Sunday and Monday, Cyprus had already rejected 114 people, according to a report by state broadcaster RIK.
Cyprus’ Interior Minister Nikos Nouris told broadcaster Sigma on Monday evening that Lebanon was considered a safe third-country.
Lebanon is witnessing its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war ended and has been rocked by nationwide anti-government protests since October.
Protesters demand the removal of the ruling elite, which they accuse of mismanagement and corruption.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim