A desperate search is underway for a British mother and her four-year-old daughter who have been missing in Egypt for more than two weeks.
Jawaria Tbesom, 26, is believed to have flown to the Egyptian capital with her daughter Aamina Asum on September 12 after the pair disappeared from their home in Birmingham.
Members of the family have since flown to Cairo in a desperate attempt to find them, amid fears the pair are wandering the streets and sleeping rough.
Ms Tbesom’s estranged husband, Asum Rehman, and six other family members have been combing the city for the pair, who have been spotted on CCTV looking ‘extremely dirty’ and in a ‘terrible state’.
Jawaria Tbesom, 26, is believed to have flown to the Egyptian capital with her daughter Aamina Asum (pictured)
Mr Rehman, 32, said his wife has custody of their daughter and confirmed the pair were separated and living apart as they went through divorce proceedings.
The clinical pharmacist, who works in Reddich, said: ‘No-one knew she’d been planning the trip and it was only once she was there that she messaged her mother to say she was in Egypt because she wanted to “sort a few things out”.
‘By looking at her emails we knew when she was due to fly back, which was a few days later, and when she didn’t come back we reported her missing to West Midlands Police.
‘We rang the hotel where she was meant to be staying and they said she hadn’t checked in.’
The family initially relied on West Midlands Police and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to locate the pair while they remained in Birmingham.
But they eventually decided to fly to Cairo and search for Jawaria and Aamina themselves after they became frustrated at an apparent ‘lack of help’.
Mr Rehman said: ‘West Midlands Police told me that, because we know where she is, she isn’t missing.
Members of the family have now flown to Cairo in a desperate search to find them, amid fears Jawaria (pictured) and Aamina are wandering the streets and sleeping rough
‘But my wife is vulnerable and has a four-year-old girl with her, they’re both British nationals and no-one knows where they are – Cairo is a city with a population of nine million people.
‘We had to go to the High Court to get an order forcing police refer the case to Interpol.’
Mr Rehman is now in Cairo with Ms Tbesom’s father, Yasin Tbesom, and several nephews.
He said: ‘As soon as we landed, we contacted the British Embassy who said it wasn’t their job to search for missing people, that was the job of the local police.
‘So we went to the Cairo police who, quite frankly, have been useless. There’s the language barrier and also they don’t seem to know what they’re doing – they’re the ones ringing us up asking if we’ve got any leads or information.
‘We’ve taken it upon ourselves to enlist the help of local people, put up posters and put out videos in the hope someone may have seen them.’
Mr Rehman said the family were able to establish the mother and daughter were still in Cairo after speaking with local taxi drivers, street vendors and hoteliers.
He said: ‘We had a sighting of her from a hotel’s CCTV that showed Jawaria and Aamina wearing filthy clothes. Aamina wasn’t wearing any shoes, and they looked extremely dirty and in a terrible state.
‘They keep moving from one part of Cairo to another, begging for scraps of food because they don’t have money.
‘It’s boiling hot here – 35C every day – and some of the places they’ve been spotted are extremely dangerous. We are getting closer every day and yesterday missed her by just 24 hours, so we know she’s definitely in Cairo.
‘Everyone’s worried sick because they only have the clothes they’re standing in, no money and we’re very concerned for their health.’
West Midlands Police confirmed the family had reported the pair missing.
A spokesperson said: ‘Because they are believed to be abroad, we have referred the matter to Interpol and the British Embassy in Cairo.
‘We’ve also advised them to contact the Lucie Blackman Trust, which specialises in missing people abroad.’