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Reports: Turkish soldier killed in Cyprus

September 8, 1996
Web posted at: 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT)


FAMAGUSTA, Northern Cyprus (CNN) -- A soldier was shot and killed Sunday by two Greek-Cypriot civilians near the U.N.-patrolled buffer zone that separates the divided island of Cyprus, Turkish-Cypriot media reported.

A spokesman for the British bases in Cyprus was quoted as saying that a Turkish-Cypriot soldier had been killed, but details of the incident had not been confirmed.

Media sources told CNN it appeared another Turkish-Cypriot soldier was badly injured in the shooting.

A statement from the U.N. forces that patrol the buffer zone said they were told about the shootings early Sunday morning by Turkish forces.

"The Sovereign Base Police are there investigating the incident with the United Nations," said Capt. Sean Tully, spokesman for the British bases in Cyprus. "So far the incident is shrouded in mystery."

Cyprus map

The shooting occurred about 4 a.m. EDT at a Turkish-Cypriot guard unit near Famagusta in southeastern Cyprus.

Tensions have been high on the island following the slaying of two Greek Cypriots by civilians and security forces last month during demonstrations in the Turkish-occupied areas.

The island has been divided since a coup 22 years ago by a military regime that then ruled Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state set up in the north of the island 13 years ago. The division is a source of tension between Turkey and Greece, its neighbor and NATO partner.

On Thursday, a senior aide to U.S. President Bill Clinton said Washington would push forward its initiative to reunite the divided island.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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