Spanish officials found an 8-year-old boy in a suitcase in El Tarajal, a point of entry at the Spanish border with Morocco.
The boy, from Ivory Coast, is in good condition and the custom officials found him inside the suitcase in a fetal position.
On 7 May, police officers in El Tarajal became suspicious when a 19-year-old Moroccan woman, showed signs of nervousness as she attempted to cross the border while struggling carrying a suitcase. “Our officers asked her if she needed help as the wheels began to give in,” the spokesman said, according to CNN. Then the police took the suitcase in for an x-ray and found the boy. “He was shocked when we opened the suitcase to see so many people looking at him,” the spokesman said.
According to the authorities, the woman called Fatima E.Y., was paid by the father of the boy to take the child over the border. El Pais, reported that the father, named A.O., attempted to cross into Spain an hour-and-a-half later, from the same point. However, customs officials grew suspicious when the A.O said he was also from Ivory Coast. He was interrogated and shown the X-ray photograph of the boy inside the suitcase. The 42-year-old broke down immediately and admitted to being the boy’s father.
“I just wanted to bring him to the Canary Islands with me,” said A.O., who has a residency permit from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where authorities suspect he arrived illegally years ago on a boat.
According to the custom officials, this is the first time such type of smuggling is being used. The father and the woman carrying the boy in the suitcase were sent to preventive prison by a Ceuta judge on charges of violating the rights of foreign citizens, with the aggravating circumstance that the child’s life was put at risk.
El Pais reported that the father had previously requested family reunification but his petition had been turned down.