Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 14 November 2019

'I feel so heartbroken': community left reeling by plight of Dubai's lost boy

A young child found wandering alone in Deira has received a flood of support from the public

The identity of a five-year-old boy found near Al Reef Mall in Deira, near Salahuddin metro station, is still not known. Courtesy: Dubai Police
The identity of a five-year-old boy found near Al Reef Mall in Deira, near Salahuddin metro station, is still not known. Courtesy: Dubai Police

The 'heartbreaking' plight of a young child found wandering alone outside a Dubai mall has prompted an outpouring of sympathy from worried residents.

Scores of people took to The National's Facebook page to express their concern after the five-year-old boy was discovered near Al Reef Mall in Deira on Saturday.

A Filipina shopper noticed that the boy, who was dressed in a Spiderman T-shirt and matching shorts, was alone and took him into the shopping centre.

She waited for some time before raising the alarm when no one came looking for him.

The youngster's parents are still to be traced and his identity is as yet unknown.

With the incident still shrouded in mystery, members of the public are hoping his uncertain future is soon resolved for the better.

"I I feel so heartbroken reading this," wrote Alina Maydybura.

"I wonder if I go to the police station, will they let me take him home and keep him with us for the time being."

Her sentiments were echoed by Facebook poster, Princess Najma.

"So cute, so sad. I would love to adopt him and give him a good future," she stated.

Others called on police to comb through CCTV footage and bring in sketch artists to help identify his parents.

"This is sad. How about surveillance cameras," wrote Said Jaroudi.

"I don’t understand it, nobody claimed him? I think this boy was abandoned," wrote Patricia Sabonji.

Police believe the boy may be Indian, though attempts to speak to him in Hindi and Urdu have proved fruitless.

He was, however, able to speak to officers in English.

I don’t understand it, nobody claimed him?

Patricia Sabonji

Officers believe the boy's mother left him with a friend to be taken care of, possibly unable to cope. The friend is thought to have left him at the mall on Saturday, presumably in the hope he would be found and well looked after - though they are yet to confirm that.

It is unclear if the boy knows his father. He said his dad was "Superman" when they asked who he was.

The child is being looked after by female officers at Muraqqabat police station and is said to be in good spirits.

Mohammed Ali Rustom, Dubai's advocate general and head of family and juvenile prosecution, said the boy appeared to have been deliberately abandoned.

He said the priority is tracking down his family, though the parents could face legal action if they are found to have breached child protection laws.

“The interest and welfare of the child is at the heart of our work and we cannot speculate at this point. We must wait until investigations are complete,” he said.

Updated: September 10, 2019 04:12 PM

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