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RAF MILDENHALL, England — Eight youths believed to be Afghans were detained Thursday by U.S. security forces at RAF Lakenheath after being discovered in the back of a delivery truck at the commissary, officials said.

Troops from the 48th Security Forces Squadron found the youths about 10:30 a.m. after a bread truck traveling from Germany was stopped at the gate and the males, ages 11 to 16, were found inside, Lakenheath spokeswoman Master Sgt. Renee Kirkland said.

The truck was heading to the base commissary, she said.

While an investigation into the matter is ongoing, Steve Partridge, a British Ministry of Defence police spokesman, said authorities don’t believe the youths were attempting to gain access to the fighter base, and were trying only to enter the United Kingdom. He said the youths “were probably caught by surprise” to have ended up in Lakenheath.

He also said police believe the driver of the vehicle was unaware of the stowaways until they were found at the gate.

The nationalities of the youths was in question Thursday evening. None of them spoke English, but officials suspected they were from Afghanistan, Partridge said.

No weapons were found with the boys, he said.

The eight were not arrested by MOD police. They were held for three hours before being picked up U.K. immigration officials, who will handle their cases, Partridge said. During that time, they were checked out medically and found to be OK.

The discovery of the youths was not believed to be connected to a nearly simultaneous event at RAF Mildenhall, where security forces shut down the main gate and closed a road in front of the base when a suspicious package was found underneath a vehicle attempting to gain access to the base.

Partridge called the events “totally isolated incidents,” and said there didn’t appear to be a connection.

“There is nothing at this stage to suggest that,” he said.

Kirkland said the delivery truck involved in Thursday’s incident was a contracted vehicle and the driver was not American, though she could not elaborate on his nationality.

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