Commonwealth Games: Five Cameroon athletes ‘desert’ team

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

Five Cameroonian athletes have gone missing from their accommodation at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, team officials have confirmed.

Press attaché Simon Molombe told the BBC that officials viewed it as a “desertion” and the missing athletes had been reported to Australian police.

The three weightlifters and two boxers were last seen at different times on Monday and Tuesday, he said.

Cameroon said the group had valid Australian visas until 15 May.

Officials named the missing athletes as weightlifters Olivier Matam Matam, Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou and Petit Minkoumba, and boxers Christian Ndzie Tsoye and Simplice Fotsala.

“The authorities are very disappointed with the deserters – some did not even compete,” Mr Molombe said.

“The pious hope is that they come back to the village and travel home with the others.”

The Australian government has warned athletes against overstaying their visas.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said it would monitor the situation but athletes had “the right to travel freely” on their visas.

The Australian Federal Police has been notified of the development, according to Kate Jones, a Queensland state government minister.

In 2012, seven Cameroonian athletes disappeared while in London for the Olympics.

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