Seven Cameroonian Athletes Disappear at London Olympics

Seven Cameroonian Athletes Disappear at London Olympics

Seven Cameroonian athletes, including boxers, a swimmer and a soccer player, have gone missing while in Britain for the 2012 London Olympics and are believed to be seeking asylum.

Published August 7, 2012

Thomas Essomba of Cameroon is believed to be one of the missing athletes.

Seven Cameroonian athletes have gone missing while in Britain for the London Olympics, the Ministry of Sports and Education reported Monday evening.


"What began as rumour has finally turned out to be true. Seven Cameroonian athletes who participated at the 2012 London Olympic Games have disappeared from the Olympic Village," Ojong said, according to Reuters.


Drusille Ngako, backup goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team, was the first to disappear, says the Wall Street Journal. Her name was not listed on the roster for the team’s final game on July 31, nor did she play in Cameroon’s first two games.


The six other missing athletes went missing at different times since Ngako’s disappearance.


According to Reuters:


A few days later, swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue and his personal belongings were also not found in his room.


Ojong added that five boxers eliminated from the games, Thomas Essomba, Christian Donfack Adjoufack, Abdon Mewoli, Blaise Yepmou Mendouo and Serge Ambomo, disappeared on Sunday from the Olympic village.


It is not the first time Cameroonian athletes have disappeared during international sports competitions.


At past Francophonie and Commonwealth games as well as junior soccer competitions, several Cameroonians have quit their delegation without official consent.


All of the missing athletes have visas permitting them to legally reside in Britain until at least November, said Ojong.


The athletes are believed to be seeking asylum for economic reasons, but this has yet to be confirmed by Britain’s Home Office.


Three Sudan athletes have also reportedly disappeared before the opening ceremonies on July 27. One had already applied for asylum and the other two were expected to do so, the Sudan embassy told the AP.



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Written by Patrice Peck


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