LONDON, England ● Athletes from Guinea and Ivory Coast have joined several other Africans who have gone missing following the London Olympics, officials said on Tuesday.
Three Guineans and three Ivorians disappeared, adding to a total list of 11 Congolese and Cameroonians suspected to be trying to make new lives in Europe.
“Three members of the delegation have not returned to the Olympic village,” Adama Doumbia, technical adviser at the Ministry of Sports and Leisure in Ivory Coast, told Reuters.
He did not give the names of the missing members of the delegation but said they contained two swimmers and a wrestling coach.
An official on Guinea’s Olympic Committee said on condition of anonymity that swimmer Dede Camara, judo competitor Facinet Keita and runner Aicha Toure had been missing since Saturday, the day before the closing ceremony.
Four members of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Olympic delegation, including judoka Cedric Mandembo, have gone missing says the Congolese Olympic Committee. They are all said to have left the Olympic village with their luggage.
During the London games seven Cameroonian athletes disappeared. Some have told the British media they want to stay and train in the UK. And three athletes from the Ivory Coast are also unaccounted for.
The London Olympic organising committee said it had notified British police about the missing Cameroonians but added the athletes would not be infringing immigration laws until their visas expired in November.
Defections are not uncommon during the Olympics – the earliest recorded was at the last London games in 1948.