Greek-Cypriot Soldier Commits Suicide After Wounding Turkish-Cypriot
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ A Greek-Cypriot soldier apparently committed suicide Sunday after he fired across the Green Line that divides the capital and wounded a Turkish-Cypriot soldier, said a U.N. spokesman.
″The preliminary indications are that the National Guard soldier fired several shots,″ said Charles Gaulkin, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force that patrols the buffer zone on the war-divided island. ″He apparently hit the Turkish soldier in the right leg and then shot himself.″
Gaulkin said the investigation was continuing into the incident at the 40- yard buffer zone in the Kaymakli district of the capital.
″We have no indication of why he shot himself,″ Gaulkin said.
The Cyprus government denied the Greek Cypriot fired across the buffer zone. The Defense Ministry issued an official statement saying that Nikolaos Michaelides, 19, from Nicosia, was standing guard on the Green Line at 5:30 a.m. when he died. The statement said he died from a self-inflicted wound but that it was unclear whether it was an accident or a suicide.
Turkey’s news agency, Anatolia, said Erbil Kavran, 20, from Kyrenia, was in serious condition after being shot in the leg. It said he was fired at three times from 40 yards across the buffer zone.
Sheena Wood, an artist who lives near the Green Line in the district, said she heard ″a lot of bangs″ at the time. ″There were three shots and then a little gap and then four or five shots. Then it went quiet.″
Gaulkin said U.N. troops from the Canadian contingent arrived soon after the shooting but that each side had evacuated its casualty.
Cyprus has been partitioned since Turkish troops invaded in 1974.
Conscripts from the 13,000-strong Greek Cypriot National Guard are posted along the confrontation line slicing through the old walled city in the center of the Cypriot capital.
Thousands of Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot soldiers are stationed along the northern side of the line.
The two communities have agreed to a limited disengagement following a sharp increase last year in shooting incidents along the buffer zone. Five people were killed by gunfire between May and December last year, the same number of fatalities reported between 1976 and May 1988.