Nicosia: The Cyprus police chief said on Monday the island was faced with an "unprecedented" crime after the recovery of the bodies of two women, both believed to be Filipinas, from an abandoned mineshaft.

"The police and Cypriot society are faced with a type of crime unprecedented for Cyprus," police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou told reporters.

Police frogmen are also searching for a missing six-year-old girl in a lake outside the capital, Nicosia.

A 35-year-old Cypriot army officer is in custody on suspicion of murdering all three victims, in what local media have dubbed Cyprus's "first serial killings".

The first woman, found on April 14, has been named as 38-year-old Mary Rose Tiburcio from the Philippines.

She and her daughter, the child being sought by police, were reported missing to police in May 2018.

A second woman was found during the search of Mitsero mine outside Nicosia, her decomposed body bound and wrapped the same way as the first victim.

Investigators have said the suspect had confessed to her killing as well and reportedly named her as a 28-year-old likewise from the Philippines.

Cypriot authorities have come under fire for failing to take action when the mother and daughter were first reported missing.

The main opposition party AKEL called on the police chief and justice minister to resign over a case that has shocked society in Cyprus with its relatively low crime rates.

"Unprecedented indifference was shown simply because these people were not of Cypriot origin but came from foreign countries," said AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou.

The case came to light after a German tourist taking photographs of the mine spotted the first body, brought to the surface of the 150-metre shaft which flooded after unusually heavy rains.

The suspect reportedly met the Filipinas, both domestic workers, through Badoo, a dating-focused social network.