Ivorian child smuggled to Spain in suitcase

Eight-year-old boy smuggled into Spain from Morocco inside a suitcase

When police opened the case, they found the boy in a
When police opened the case, they found the boy in a "terrible state"

Spanish Police have found an eight-year-old Ivorian boy hidden in a suitcase that was smuggled across the border into territory in north Africa, officials have said.

A 19-year-old woman took the case through a pedestrian crossing from Morocco into the small Spanish-governed territory of Ceuta on Thursday, a spokesman for the Civil Guard police force said.

"When they put the suitcase through the scanner, the operator noticed something strange, which seemed to be a person inside the case," he told the AFP news agency.

"When it was opened they found a minor, in a terrible state."

The boy said he was eight years old and from Ivory Coast, according to the spokesman.

The Civil Guard arrested the woman, who was due to go before a judge while the boy is now in the care of authorities in Ceuta.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the 19-year-old is not related to the boy, and was paid by his father to carry the suitcase.

The boy's father lives in the Canary Islands and had hoped to be reunited with his son, El Pais said.

The Spanish news agency Efe said the boy's father, also named Abou, had travelled back to Ivory Coast to pick him up, having moved to Gran Canaria in 2013.

The father then reportedly paid the Moroccan courier to carry the suitcase. A police spokesman told Efe: "She seemed to hesitate, and it looked as though she didn't want to come through the border.

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