London 2012 Olympics: Authorities powerless over missing Cameroon athletes until visas expire
NO ACTION can be taken over seven Cameroonian athletes missing from the Olympic village until their visas expire, officials said today.
• Five boxers, a swimmer and a footballer have all disappeared from the athletes’ village at the Olympic Park
• All seven have visas allowing them to remain in the UK until November
Little can be done before their visas expire in November, organisers said.
It is understood that none of the seven have claimed asylum.
Jackie Brock-Doyle, organiser Locog’s director of communications, said: “On the Cameroon missing people, they have been reported as missing but they have visas to stay in this country until November, so right now they haven’t done anything wrong.
“We are in quite a difficult position at the moment because they are able to be in this country, they are able to do what they like in this country, obviously within reason, but until that changes it is quite difficult.
“But we have been alerted by the Cameroonian NOC (National Olympic Committee) and we have said we will see what we can do.”
She said that Team Cameroon chiefs wrote to London 2012 organisers “to say that these athletes have left the village, and left their accommodation and can we help”.
Mark Adams, of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), added: “Clearly we’re watching the situation.
“I would say, probably even more so than Locog, we’re a little bit one stage further back from this.
“The team has raised a concern and the police are informed, but at this stage I don’t think it’s necessary for the IOC to be concerned about whether they will or won’t outstay their welcome.”
The missing athletes include all five of the team’s boxers - Thomas Essomba who competed in the 49kg category, Christian Donfack Adjoufack in the 80kg, Yhyacinthe Mewoli Abdon in the 60kg, Blaise Yepmou Mendouo in the plus 91kg and Serge Abomo in the 64kg - who disappeared on Sunday.
The others were Drusille Ngako Tchimi, 25, a stand-by goalkeeper for Cameroon’s women’s team, and swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue, 21.
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