Incredible coincidence reunites lost four-year old refugee who traveled from Ivory Coast to Italy with mother

Oumoh was with 19 other refugees and migrants all of whom said they did not know who she was when she arrived in Lampedusa 

Saturday 26 November 2016 18:33 GMT
Police officer Maria Volpe taking care of Oumoh
Police officer Maria Volpe taking care of Oumoh (AFP/Getty Images)

A four-year-old who travelled from the Ivory Coast to Italy alone has been reunited with her mother thanks to a total coincidence.

Oumoh was taken from her father’s family by her mother after being threatened with female genital mutilation and was rescued at sea and brought to Lampedusa on 9 November.

She was with 19 other migrants all of whom said they did not know who she was, according to police inspector Maria Volpe, whose job it is to look after migrant minors arriving in Sicily.

After Ms Volpe could not determine where Oumoh’s parents were she was then given to a children’s community in Palermo.

A fortnight later, the officer was tasked with speaking to an eight year-old, her mother and here brother, all of whom were rescued off the coast of Libya, AFP reported.

As the officer spoke to the mother, she let the child, Nassade, look through the pictures on her mobile phone – who then instantly recognised Oumoh.

The two children had met in a reception centre in Tunis and Nassade’s mother had a contact number for Oumoh’s mother.

Upon calling, Ms Volpe discovered the four-year-old’s mother had taken Oumoh to Tunis where she had left her with her friend.

She then went back to the Ivory Coast to collect some belongings and while she was away, the friend had the chance to set sail to Italy, so took Oumoh with her – although kept her distance on arrival.

"The mother may have be planning to embark too, but she was detained in the Ivory Coast longer than expected and when she returned to Tunis, her daughter was gone," Ms Volpe told AFP.

A DNA test will be conducted to confirm the relationship between the two.

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