Mohamed Bangoura: how the six-year-old became stranded in Belgium

Sheffield schoolboy was visiting friends in Brussels when his UK passport was revoked by Foreign Office

Mohamed Bangoura, Brussels
Mohamed Bangoura was stopped from boarding a flight home
(Image credit: Twitter)

A six-year-old boy who was left stranded in Belgium for two weeks after being refused re-entry to the UK has been allowed to return home to his mother.

Mohamed Bangoura, from Sheffield, was stopped from boarding a flight home when his passport was revoked after a visit to family friends in Brussels during the summer holidays.

Following a public outcry over his plight, the British government issued Mohamed with an emergency passport and flew him back to Manchester Airport on Monday, where he was met with an “emotional embrace” from his mother, Hawa Keita, The Independent reports.

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But why was his passport revoked in the first place?

The Home Office claims it sent a letter to Keita in March saying that her son’s passport had been revoked, but she says she did not receive it.

The letter reportedly said that it had “come to light” that Keita and her husband, both from Guinea in West Africa, were not settled in the UK when the boy was born, meaning his British citizenship was no longer valid.

However, Keita says she was in the process of divorcing her Guinea-based husband and had moved to the UK to live with the British father of her son.

MEP Catherine Bearder and MP Sir Ed Davey, both Liberal Democrats, wrote a joint letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid last week calling on the Government to facilitate the boy’s return.

Abdoul Diallo, the family friend with whom Mohamed stayed in Brussels, said: “We’ve been going from the police, to the embassy, to the Belgian Home Office, to the Belgian authorities responsible for children... It was shocking for me that the [British] government, based on fundamental principles of human rights and values, has committed such a massive mistake. But I’m also very glad that they corrected the mistake swiftly.”

Speaking to The Independent, Keita, who could not travel to Belgium because she does not currently hold a passport, said: “I’m just happy to see my son again.”

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