Spain’s suitcase boy reunited with his family

Spanish officials reunite 8-year-old Ivorian boy with his mother and father

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The 8-year-old Ivorian Adou Ouattara who was discovered when he was hidden in a suitcase while he was being smuggled into Spain is reunited with his family.

The boy was detected by the Spanish police while he was being smuggled by a 19-year-old Moroccan woman into the North African Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

Officials from the central government representative in Ceuta said the boy has been given permission so he can live with his mother for one year in Spain.

While the boy was handed over to the Ceuta centre for underage migrants, officials called his mother for DNA test. The Spanish government did not release the father from custody accusing him of smuggling.

The Spanish Ceuta court released the boy’s father Ali Ouattara on 5,000-euro bail on Monday after Adou left the Ceuta centre for underage migrants.

The family’s lawyer Juan Isidro Fernandez Diaz said: "We are very happy. We'll set off again with the little one."

“We have paid the bail and they're going to release him," Diaz said.

"If he [Adou’s father] had known his son was to be brought in a case he would never have allowed it. He is a victim of migrant traffickers."

According to Spanish media, Adou’s mother has been living legally in Spanish Canary Islands. After confirming via DNA test, the Spanish officials let Adou and his mother reunite.

The Ceuta official in charge of juvenile affairs Maria Antonia Palomo said "his mother cried...It is a very beautiful day.”

Adou’s father and mother have been legal residents in Canary Islands since 2008. Adou’s 11-year-old sister managed to acquire permit to live with her father and mother, but officials did not give Adou a visa.

African migrants often seek to enter mainland Spain through Morocco via the Ceuta and Melilla enclaves. Many of the migrants are caught by the police trying the climb over the fence, while many drown trying to enter the enclaves via the sea.

In 2005, Spain and Morocco decided to increase surveillance along the border to prevent deaths that occur as migrants attempt to enter.

The Spanish government has called on the European Union for help to reduce the number of immigrants to Melilla and Ceuta.

According to data from the Human Rights Watch, 4,300 tried to enter Ceuta and Melilla in 2013 and up to  2,804 people in 2012.

Last year 100 migrants successfully entered Melilla when at least 400 migrants stormed the border fence.

Overall, around 14,000 migrants have tried to cross the border, with 2,000 of them making it into Melilla.

To date, approximately 6,500 migrants died trying to cross the border.

TRTWorld and agencies