Police in Greece say a Balkan drug feud led to dozens of killings across Europe

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus police say a Syrian man admitted to burying one of his four children at sea after the 6-year-old died aboard a boat loaded with migrants that had gone adrift for many days without food or water.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou told the state-run Cyprus News Agency Monday that the Syrian man told them under questioning that the boat had departed from Syria on Feb. 20 but at some point ran out of fuel, sailing adrift in rough seas.

The man said he buried his child after wrapping him in a blanket two days before Cyprus marine police radar spotted the vessel on Feb. 29 some 67 miles (about 108 kilometers) south of the island nation. A patrol vessel transferred at least 31 migrants to the southern coastal town of Larnaca.

The Cypriot officers noticed a discrepancy in the number of children declared on the Syrian man’s documents and those left on board.

Petros Zenios, deputy operations chief with the Cyprus migration service, told state broadcaster CyBC that three other migrants tried to swim for help after noticing what appeared to be city lights on the horizon. He said there was no way that would’ve been Cyprus because of the boat’s distance from shore. The three remain missing despite an extensive search.

Zenios said two other migrants are being treated in a hospital, one in critical condition after apparently consuming seawater. The other is suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.

There were 11 other minors aboard the boat, all in good health.

A Cyprus court ordered the 22-year-old boat captain to remain in police custody for eight days. He faces charges including manslaughter and causing death through negligence.

Zenios said 1,158 minors arrived in Cyprus aboard migrant-laden boats all of last year. Some 316 minors reached the island by sea so far this year.

Meanwhile, Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou told other European Union counterparts in Brussels Monday that the 27-member bloc should re-examine parts of Syria to facilitate repatriations of migrants.

Officials from Greece, Sweden and Austria agreed that the EU needs to re-evaluate the issue, according to a statement issued Monday.

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