EOKAs leader in Kyrenia district chose death in a crude
hide in Placid Dhikomo village yesterday to a "Surrender or die"
ultimatum from troops.
He was 32 year old Kyriakos MATSIS, who's trail led from
the north coast and beyond the Pentadactylos mountains. It ended in a four
room house on the village outskirts. Within eight hours of a surprise
cordon and search after a Wiltshire Regiment officer received information
that MATSIS was in the village, troops had reached the home and were
probing the tile floors for the hollow sound indicating a hide underneath.
With a bayonet, one soldier traced out a square block of tiles in a rear
bedroom and intelligence officers knew they had their man. "MATSIS",
one yelled, as troops moved back and waited. The wanted man answered and
was told to come out, "There are two men down here with me" he
said "I'm sending them up first unarmed, Don't shoot". The
interpreter told him that troops were clearing the room, and shortly after
the two men lifted the tile hatch and climbed out with their arms raised.
Troops handed them over to special branch men.
Picture of MATSIS from a Cyprus
newspaper after being dealt with by the 'Springers'
Again, the interpreter ordered MATSIS to
surrender, but he answered "I'll come out shooting" a smoke
grenade was lobbed into the hole and MATSIS was warned that next time it
would be a live explosive. "Come out" he was told again
"No" answered MATSIS and an army grenade exploded in the hole.
Troops found his dead body lying a couple of yards under the floor. They threw
in another grenade in case any explosives had failed to go off.
An officer of the Wiltshire's
pictured in a local newspaper 'At the scene'
Lt Col George WOOLNOUGH who was directing the operation, said that
MATSIS and the other two wanted men had probably entered the hide only
yesterday after a house curfew was announced.
Later the Director of operations Major General DARLING said "It is
an absolutely splendid effort. My men have been first class under
conditions requiring great patience and endurance, it is a terrific show
and only the beginning"