Cameroon has been hit by another international scandal as eight athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games in Australia have gone missing ahead of the finale on Sunday.
They are weightlifters Olivier Matam Matam, Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou and Petit Minkoumba, and boxers Christian Ndzie Tsoye, Simplice Fotsala, Arsene Fokou, Ulrich Yombo and Christelle Ndiang.
They were last seen at different times on Monday and Tuesday at their accommodation and have since been reported to the Australian police as “deserters”, a Cameroonian press attache Simon Molombe told the BBC.
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“The authorities are very disappointed with the deserters – some did not even compete. The pious hope is that they come back to the village and travel home with the others,” he said.
The athletes have visas that expire on May 15 and the Commonwealth Games Federation has said that athletes have “the right to travel freely” on their visas while the Australian government has warned athletes against overstaying their visas.
This is the second time since 2012 that Cameroonian athletes have gone missing at an international competition. Seven Olympic athletes from Cameroon, including 5 boxers, a swimmer and a reserve women’s goalkeeper also went missing during the London 2012 Olympics.
They were followed by three Guineans and three Ivorians, while two members of the Sudanese team and one Ethiopian sought asylum in the UK.