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Weightlifter Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou is among the missing athletes, Cameroon officials say

Commonwealth Games: Athletes from Rwanda, Cameroon, Uganda missing

The Commonwealth Games Federation has confirmed there are reports Rwandan and Ugandan athletes are missing from the games along with eight from Cameroon, while they also investigate the whereabouts of two squash players from Sierra Leone.

Chief Executive Officer David Gruvemberg said they are investigating the reports.

“I wouldn’t want to be speculative on the Sierra Leone [athletes] at this time,” he said.

“We’re obviously looking at that very carefully.”

Mr Gruvemberg aid 22 Cameroonian athletes were sent home, while those who are yet to compete will remain here until after the closing ceremony.

“We obviously have been in close contact with the Cameroonian Commonwealth Games Association,” he said.

“We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, whereabouts of these athletes.

“They are still free to travel within Australia, this is still within their visa restrictions.

“The team though however is taking all measures it can within its jurisdiction to look after the interests and welfare of these individuals that are missing.”

The Cameroon Commonwealth Games team has rejected suggestions all their athletes have left.

A team spokesman said this morning 12 basketballers and two weight lifters who had finished their competitions had flown home, but others remained on the Gold Coast to compete in the wrestling events today and in boxing tomorrow.

He said Cameroon would be at the closing ceremony on Sunday night.

Police said none of them had been reported as missing and police were not searching for any athletes.

They said their absence was a matter for the Cameroon team.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Cameroon athletes missing from the Commonwealth Games Village on Queensland’s Gold Coast. (LtoR, top row to bottom row): Fotsala Simplice, Fokou Arsene, Ndzie Tchoyi Christian, Yombo Ulrich, Ndiang Christelle, Minkoumba Petit David, Fouodji Arcangeline Sonkbou and Matam Matam Olivier Heracles. (ABC News)

Commonwealth Games athletes are given “temporary activity” visas allowing a stay of up to three months.

Prominent barrister Julian Burnside said the athletes’ visas “could in theory include terms that they have to be present at the Games Village every day, and so on”.

In January, the United Nations revealed more than 15,000 refugees had fled Cameroon amid a crackdown on English-speaking separatists.

Mr Burnside said the Cameroonian athletes could apply for asylum in Australia but they would risk a lengthy stay in detention if Border Force cancelled their existing visas.

“[It is] really very difficult to work out what criteria are used in deciding whether or not a person will be allowed to apply for asylum and whether or not they’ll be given a bridging visa in the meantime,” Mr Burnside said.

A statement on Wednesday from the Chef de Mission from Team Cameroon, Victor Agbor Nso, said the eight athletes had left the Games Village in three waves.

Three athletes left the village on the night of April 8, two others were declared missing on April 9, and three more had left their rooms on the night of April 10.

Six of the athletes had finished competing in their respective competitions while the other two — boxers Ndzie Tchoyi Christian and Yombo Ulrich — left without competing.

An Australian Border Force (ABF) spokesperson said in a statement today that the Australian Government had been “working closely with the organising committee and international stakeholders to ensure Commonwealth Games officials and athletes were aware of their visa responsibilities”.

“Like other visitors to Australia, Commonwealth Games visitors who hold a valid visa, are free to enjoy their stay in Australia,” the spokesperson said.

“However, Commonwealth Games visitors who do not meet their visa requirements can expect to have their visas cancelled — the department does not comment on individual cases.”

Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Peter Beattie said the athletes should stick to the visa rules.

“The rules and requirements the Australian Government has,” Mr Beattie said.

“We encourage people to get a visa, come here and compete, stay a little while after, spend some money in this country and then go home.

“Border security is aware of it — these people are still within their visa — but at the end of the day I would encourage them to return to the village.

“We anticipated this happening — there’s a system in place to deal with it and we’ll get on with organising the event.”

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said she hoped the athletes do not try to overstay their visas.

“Clearly it’s not a great thing to have happened,” she said.

“I just hope they’re out enjoying the delights of Queensland for a little while and will do the right thing and come back to the Games and go home appropriately.”

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  1. The irony in all this is that nobody wants to start a talk on the problems plaguing the Cameroonian society. Nothing is moving in Cameroon. Yet we keep hearing about motions of support for the president. Are Cameroonians allergic to change or just have change phobia?

  2. All these are faces of Beti LRC is a rotten country that is why Southern Cameroon Ambazonia need to build a nation that LRC will envy it
    It’s shame on Biya that every year LRC run away from game shame shame if LRC was even like Kenya I don’t those guys will run shame to the gang star regime

    • @Good man

      Hahahah this one I am agree with you

    • By their names and heads we shall know them , stop whining the entire forum knows they are anglo bami . There is no way to pass them as Beti . One they are too unglued & two Being à Beti in Cameroon is a privilege , everyday is the celebration of the Beti heritage . Why would any Beti leave Cameroon illegally ? It doesn’t even make sense . We have money and saves working for us

      • They are too ugly and we have slaves working for us . Their names are there own your L in silence you will never see us in such position. They are anglo bami aka ngraffi aka Nguelafi

    • Good Pima ,oui c est vrai Biya detruit ce pays , mais qu est ce que ton ambazombia propose? Le desordre, plus d ignorance? Les nigerians meurent chaque jour au desert comme les ghaneens. Y a eu des ministres venants de mon villages , mais meme une maison ils n ont pas au village. Leurs enfants ne se souviennent plus etre des Kamer. Nos chefs vendent les terres du village, avec meme les tombes de leurs parents. Et je te parle du Sud Ouest. Faut arreter de faire des gens du sud ouest des saints, c est une illusion. Tous les camerounais sont corrompus, tu les mets la ils vont faire pareil.

  3. The Mentality of This Cameroonian Athletes is a Reflection of Paul Biya’s legacy in Cameroon! While othe african countries like Botswana, Uganda and others at The Commonwealth Games are winning Medals for their countries, Cameroonians are running for Survival! Running from the Administration of Paul Biya, The same government that has chosen them as the flag bearers of Cameroon. The Best Cameroon can offer but they cannot stand the thought of returning to home to cameroon to deal with Paul Biya and Friends!

  4. zero aspiration for young people in lrc,Cameroon where without bribery and corruption nothing gets done,many young people for years have been migrating from french Cameroon a stagnant oppressed dictator biya who treat the citizens like beggar slaves while he lives in a palace over looking slums, those obscured athletics can see how beautiful Australia infrastructure is, built by politicians with vision for their country and people not the Cameroon dirty, slums where politicians embezzle billions while the country regress in 57 years, 99.9% of African leaders and their entire politicians are a curse to the continent, even the educated ones succumb to greediness, exploitation,show stolen wealth without shame,less care or compassion, power mongers, slave mentality attitude towards their poor

  5. They have seen there chance to get out and they’ve taken it

  6. Heaven, helps those who help themselves. Let their plans work, for no human body,
    even that of francophones, can continue living in pain under Mr. Biya.

  7. Cameroon is in the Commonwealth Because of the NorWest and Southwest Regions of the Country and Now the Region is in crisis .Since Paul Biya doesn’t want to Solve the Anglophone Crisis, Cameroon has no business being in the Commonwealth !

    • Come remove us empty vessel . Ever since you have been marching to buea how come you ain’t there yet . I’m in limbe holla at me when you get there .

      • I wish you know where kongossa e nga dey , make you throwe some big talk, give em for ya magida atalacou men them , make they giv ei small wangala. Surely e di hide for bush now with epee pima e nga and mvomeka e own too. Anyway you no need big talk ,bayangui nga di diny tuma? They ready for ouvrir 34/24