Mass desertion has hit the Cameroon team representing the Central African country at the ongoing 2018 Commonwealth Games, in Gold Coast, Australia.
Five boxers and three weightlifters from the country were said to have left the athlete village since Sunday, with some of them not even turning up for competition, as they were scheduled to.
Team Cameroon in an official statement on Wednesday confirmed six men and two women from the 40-strong team were missing.
“The Cameroon Commonwealth team is sad to announce that eight … athletes they took to the 21st Commonwealth Games in [the] Gold Coast … are missing from their respective rooms in the Games village,” Victor Agbor Nso, Team Camerooan chef de mission, said.
“These athletes left in three waves — first in the night of April 8 three athletes departed from the village.
“Then on [April 9] two others were declared missing and last night three others left their rooms.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Games Federation said the missing athletes have not broken any laws at this stage, as their visas are still valid.
“These athletes are guests here in Australia. They are still within their visas, they have the right to travel freely,” Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg said.
“It’s obviously disappointing that I think some of the athletes that have come didn’t compete as they were scheduled to compete.
“The safety and welfare of those athletes from the Team Cameroon perspective is being taken very, very seriously, but we are obviously monitoring that situation with Team Cameroon,” Mr Grevemberg added.
Recall that in 2012, seven athletes from Team Cameroon were reported missing from the London Olympic Games, while in 2006, 26 athletes and officials from countries like Cameroon and Sierra Leone sought asylum in Oz after the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.