An eight-year-old boy has been smuggled into Spain from Morocco inside a suitcase, Spanish police say.

The boy, Abou, was found inside the case being carried by a 19-year-old woman into Ceuta, a Spanish enclave next to Morocco, on Thursday.

When police opened the case, they found the boy in a “terrible state”, a spokesman for the Guardia Civil told AFP.

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The boy, from Ivory Coast, is now in the care of authorities in Ceuta.

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

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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.

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The father then reportedly paid the 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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