Eight Cameroonian,five Ugandan and Rwandan athletes, making a total of thirteen have been declared missing from the Commonwealth Games in Australia on Thursday 12th April 2018.
Initial news reports on Wednesday 11th April 2018 said 8 athletes from Cameroon were suspected to have fled. Before that report could be confirmed, more reports of another 5 athletes from Uganda and Rwanda surfaced.
“We’re obviously looking at it very carefully,” Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg told news men.
“We have a service to people who have legitimate visas to be in this country,” he added.
“Until it becomes a true issue and somebody has outstayed their visa, or have formally applied for asylum, we just need to continue to monitor the situations.
“The focus now is to support teams in trying to track down the athletes who are missing.”
The number of missing athletes, are expected to rise even higher as authorities verify the whereabouts of two squash players from Sierra Leone.
The Cameroonian team, consists of 24 members of which one third are missing. Eight of the missing athletes, consist of five boxers and three weightlifters.
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Victor Agbor Nso, the Cameroonian team manager, speaking to local news stations said he had reported the issue to the police on Wednesday
Grevemberg, unwavering in his resolve that the welfare of the athletes comes first.
“We obviously have been in close contact with Cameroon officials,” he said.
“We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, and whereabouts of these athletes.”
In the year 2000, at the Olympic Games in Sydney over 100 athletes were in the country longer than their visa allowed. Grevemberg also mentioned that the visas granted to the athletes would expire on the 15th of May.
The minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, warned that athletes would be forcibly removed from the country if they attempted to outstay their visas.
“They aren’t going to game the system,” he told local radio. “Australian Border Force officers will find these people and they’ll be snheld in immigration detention until they can be deported.”