Cyprus Mail

Afghan teen claims he traveled to Cyprus in container (updated)

A 17-year-old Afghan boy who was found wandering in the Limassol port area at 2am Thursday, claimed he arrived on the island some 20 days ago in a shipping container.

According to police, a port guard spotted an individual walking toward him at 2am Thursday, and asked him to identify himself.

When he realized that the boy had no documents, he detained him for identification purposes.

During questioning through an interpreter, the boy said he is an Afghan national but has no documents to prove it, and only knows that he was born around 17 years ago.

He claimed he left Afghanistan six months ago, hoping to reach Italy.

Travelling through several countries by various means, he finally arrived at another EU country, from where he was placed in a container, the destination of which – he was told – was the country he wanted to go to.

Instead, he arrived at the Limassol port some 20 days ago, where he claimed to have stayed for the last 20 days, without being noticed.

Police notified the welfare service and decided to transfer the boy to the reception centre for unaccompanied minors in Larnaca.

In a news conference, Limassol CID chief Ioannis Soteriades said police are investigating the case “very carefully” as the boy has no travel or other documents indicating his identity.

“We are in co-operation with various government services, as well as other countries, to establish his identity and offer any possible assistance to this young man, who described the circumstances under which he ended up in our country,” Soteriades said.

“He said he left Afghanistan six months ago, paying a large sum, and was taken by car to Bulgaria, through Iran and Turkey. There, per his claims, he paid more money to enter a shipping container, with a view to travelling to Italy – however, he ended up at the Limassol port 20 days ago.”

These are all claims police will investigate, Soteriades added.

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