13 African Athletes Have Gone Missing From the Commonwealth Games in Australia
Athletes from Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone are believed to have fled the games.
Around 13 African athletes have gone missing from the Commonwealth Games currently underway in Australia.
On Wednesday, it was reported that 8 Cameroonian athletes—five boxers and three weightlifters—disappeared from the games, leading the team to believe they'd "deserted." The remaining athletes are said to be from Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
The athlete's current visas expire on May 15. Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has warned missing athletes, that if found, they will be forcibly removed if they stay passed the aforementioned date, reports the AFP.
"They aren't going to game the system," he told local radio. "Australian Border Force officers will find these people (and) they'll be held in immigration detention until they can be deported."
Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg has said that assuring the welfare of the athletes is their upmost priority at the moment.
"The focus now is to support teams in trying to track down the athletes who are missing," he said. "We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, whereabouts of these athletes," he added.
This is not the first time groups of athletes have gone missing from the Commonwealth Games. In 2006 more than 40 athletes and officials went missing, overstayed, or sought asylum, reports BBC Africa. The same has occurred at Olympic Games in the past. It's clear that many leave in search of a better life outside of their home countries.
Earlier this month, 50 Ghanaians were deported after it was determined that they were not journalists sent to cover the Commonwealth Games, as they claimed to be.
Missing African athletes on Gold Coast could be legitimate refugees, advocates say https://t.co/nzJte8LQkZ https://t.co/WLeLi5IaRq— ABC News (@ABC News)1523562728.0