x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Missing schoolboy found sleeping rough at bus station

The Al Ain schoolboy Ibrahim Hasan Abdul has been reunited with his family after being found at Abu Dhabi Central bus station, 10 days after he went missing.

Police found Ibrahim wearing the same brown T-shirt, white shorts and black trainers he had on when he was last seen on May 10.
Police found Ibrahim wearing the same brown T-shirt, white shorts and black trainers he had on when he was last seen on May 10.

The Al Ain schoolboy Ibrahim Hasan Abdul is back home with his family after being found at Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station – 10 days after he went missing.

Police found Ibrahim, 14, asleep on the grass outside the station about 2am on Monday. He was wearing the same brown T-shirt, white shorts and black trainers in which he was last seen on May 10.

“He looked so terrible, the police had to give him food,” said his relieved mother, Fatima Elmi. “He looks as if he lost half of his weight and is really weak.”

With just Dh60 in his pocket, Ibrahim managed to take a bus to Abu Dhabi and survive on the island for more than 10 days.

“He only ate bread, things like croissants and muffins, and drank water at the mosque.”

He spent his days in malls around the city, and got around by bus.

A huge Chelsea fan, Ibrahim even managed watch his team win the Champions League final on Saturday night. “He saw the game at a cafe at the Marina Mall,” Mrs Elmi said.

“When the game finished late and the cafe had to close before the end, he was able to find another place showing the replay.”

Every night Ibrahim returned to the bus station, where he slept on the lawn outside. “My son is very clever,” said his mother. “He knew if he stayed inside the bus station police and security guards would find him. It is shocking that no one saw him in all these days.”

She believes CCTV at the bus station would have helped find her son sooner. “In London we have CCTV everywhere and it helps in cases like this.”

Mrs Elmi blames her son’s disappearance on trouble with his classmates at Al Dhafra Private School in Al Ain. “He ran away because of peer pressure. He is the youngest in his class and the kids had been daring him to run away for a week.”

The last straw was when a fight with another pupil on the day he left.

Ibrahim and his family are now getting some much-needed rest.

Ibrahim’s father moved back to London three months ago for work. He returned to the UAE as soon as he heard his son was missing.

“Ibrahim is really ashamed of what he has done,” said his mother.

Mrs Elmi said she was extremely grateful to all Abu Dhabi police, especially the CID in Al Ain. “They were very helpful and did an excellent job.”

tsubaihi@thenational.ae