Cypriot president dismisses police chief over serial killer murders

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 4, 2019
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NICOSIA, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades dismissed his chief of police on Friday, citing possible mishandling by police investigators of a probe into several killings by a self-confessed serial murderer, an official statement said.

The dismissal of Zacharias Chrysostomou, effective from May 7, was announced one day after Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou submitted his resignation to the president. The minister said he did this out of political sensitivity, though he had no connection with the investigations into the case.

There are calls from political parties and social media for the resignation of the two after it was revealed that some of the victims of the serial killer had been reported as missing people, but the police failed to take effective measures to trace them.

In a letter to Chrysostomou, Anastasiades said the reason for his decision to dismiss the chief of police was "apparent negligence or failure to perform police duties in investigating the reported disappearances which could have prevented the serious crimes that shocked Cypriot society."

Although the president acknowledged that Chrysostomou was not personally involved in the cases, he said that he was "asked to shoulder the responsibility in order to restore the dignity of the force."

The president said that he also took into consideration the resignation of Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou, who resigned Thursday, though he said he was not involved in any way in the investigations.

Self-confessed serial killer Nicos Metaxas, a 35-year old army captain, told the police that he killed a 30-year old Romanian woman in 2016 and her eight-year old daughter. His killing spree continued in 2017 with the murders of two women from the Philippines and the six-year old daughter of one of them and a woman from Vietnam.

His most recent victim was a 30-year-old woman from Nepal in last August, but police are examining whether other missing women had been his victims.

Police have retrieved four bodies up to now and have identified two of them, with the latest one on Friday, when it was announced that a body found in a flooded mine shaft belonged to Arian Palanas Lozano, from the Philippines.

Search teams will start using sonar equipment as of Saturday to trace the three missing bodies thought to have been dumped by the killer in the toxic water of a red lake formed by rain water in a disused open mine and in another mine lake a small distance away. Enditem

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