Author: Dean Kirby
Back to school?
Mohamed Bangoura, a six-year-old boy born in Britain, may be left stateless after immigration officials have declared his passport and citizenship a mistake. The Leeds-born son of a British father was due back at school in Sheffield next week, but has been left stranded in Belgium.
How has this happened?
The Home Office has denied him permission to board a flight from Zaventem to Manchester on 26 August after Mohamed went on a three-week holiday with family and friends. Critics have questioned why the Home Office allowed the boy to go on holiday after his passport was revoked three month earlier.
What are the boy’s parents saying about it?
Mohamed’s mother Hawa Keita, 29, who is Guinean and lives in Sheffield, said she never received the letter from the Home Office revoking his passport. She said she is “completely shocked” and feels “dead inside” at being unable to see her child.
What will happen next?
Hawa Keita, whose father is a former Guinean ambassador to Belgium, says she has been told to send her son to Guinea to try to find a visa for him to come back to the UK. She says: “I’m not crazy enough to send my son out of the airport when I know he doesn’t have a passport.” How have people reacted to the news? Critics have branded the case “truly shocking” and “shameful”. Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said it was “almost beyond belief” that the Government would preside over a system that blocks a six-year-old born here from returning home. Labour and the Liberal Democrats say the case is evidence of the Home Office’s “hostile” immigration environment, which has been blamed for the Windrush scandal. The uncle of the boy is the former Premier League footballer Kamil Zayate. The Conservative immigration minister Caroline Nokes has become involved in the case.
What are the Home Office saying about it?
A Home Office letter said Mohamed should never have been given a British passport and was given citizenship by mistake. His mother and father are no longer together. The Home Office said Mohamed was taken out of the country despite the letter being sent about his passport being revoked. Family friends in Brussels say Mohammed is missing his mother and worried about school. Ms Keita said: “My son’s friends in Brussels have gone back to school. This morning when I spoke to him, he told me ‘my friends are going to school, why can’t I go to school?”