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Eight Cameroon athletes go missing at Australia’s Commonwealth Games

By on April 14, 2018

A third of Cameroon’s athletes attending the Commonwealth Games in Australiahave gone missing, the team said in a statement Wednesday.
Out of the total team of 24 members, five boxers and three weightlifters have disappeared over the space of three days, the statement said.
They left in waves, with three going missing on the night of April 8, another two vanishing on April 9 before the remaining group left at night on April 10. Two of the eight left without competing.

Team attache Simon Molombe said he did not expect them to return. “I don’t think they will be back,” confirming their disappearance had been reported to Australian police.
The Queensland Commonwealth Games minister, Kate Jones, said the Australian federal police were “keeping a watching brief on these athletes”.

“When an athlete comes to Australia to compete in a competition we expect them to front up on the field and compete, so we are disappointed about that.”

Cameroon team manager Victor Agbor Nso told the country’s state broadcaster it was unfortunate for the country and its international image.

“Most of them departed in the night when everyone was sleeping. Nobody knows the direction they have gone,” Cameroon team spokesman Simon Lyonga said.

More than 4,500 athletes from 71 countries will take part during the course of the games, which began on April 5, competing for a total of 275 gold medals

It is not the first time athletes have disappeared during major sporting events.
Following the 2012 London Olympics, at least 21 athletes were reported missing, including seven from Cameroon, and four from the DRC, as well as nationals of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan and Ethiopia.

After the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, more than 40 athletes and officials overstayed or sought asylum in Australia, including from African nations Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Cameroonian weightlifters Francois Etoundi and Simplice Ribouem were both granted refugee status, and competed for Australia in the 2018 Games.

Cameroon, a bilingual country based in central Africa, faces entrenched development challenges and widespread poverty.
Last year there were violent clashes as protestors took to the streets in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions calling for symbolic independence from the country’s French-speaking majority.

About Armand Djoualeu

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