Northern Ireland

East African children taken into care in Belfast

Belfast Harbour Image copyright Maciej Grabowicz

A number of east African children who are thought to have arrived into NI illegally have been taken into care in Belfast in recent weeks.

It is unclear how they arrived, however some of the teenagers said they travelled in a shipping container.

Police dispute that and have said officers are trying to find out how they got there.

The children are from Eritrea in north east Africa and were travelling without an adult.

It is understood they were found at different times over a number of weeks.

They have since been placed in the care of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it is "liaising with the relevant health trust to understand the circumstances around a number of unaccompanied children who have been taken into the care of social services".

"Our first priority is the safety and wellbeing of the children involved," the PSNI added.