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Cameroon athletes go missing at London Olympics, team chief says

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Tue August 7, 2012
Cameroon boxer Serge Ambomo is one of seven athletes who have gone missing from the Olympics
Cameroon boxer Serge Ambomo is one of seven athletes who have gone missing from the Olympics
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Seven athletes from Cameroon have gone missing, their team chief says
  • The athletes include five boxers, a woman footballer and a male swimmer, he says
  • The athletes have the right to remain in the United Kingdom until early November
  • It is not yet clear whether they intend to try to seek asylum in the United Kingdom

London (CNN) -- Seven athletes from Cameroon's delegation to the London Olympics have gone missing, the country's head of mission said Tuesday.

The missing athletes include five male boxers, a female footballer and a male swimmer, Paul Ekane Edingue, said David Ojong, Cameroon's head of mission to London 2012.

Ojong said the missing boxers, named as Thomas Essomba, Christian Donfack Adjoufack, Yhyacinthe Abdon Mewoli, Serge Ambomo and Blaise Yepmou Mendouo, had not been seen since Monday.

Footballer Drusille Ngako, who was one of the team's reserve players, went missing on July 26, he said.

The Cameroonian delegation approached the London Games organizers, LOCOG, and the High Commission of Cameroon in London as soon as they became aware of the missing athletes, Ojong said.

Nothing has been heard from the athletes since they went missing, he said, but their compatriots "hope and believe" the athletes will rejoin the group before they return to Cameroon.

UK authorities say athletes visiting the United Kingdom for the Games are free to come and go as they please from the Olympic village, where visiting delegations are housed.

Athletes and team officials have been allowed to seek permission to enter and remain in the United Kingdom without a visa from March 30 to November 8. Their right to be in the country ends on November 8.

The UK Home Office, which is responsible for border security, declined to comment on the missing athletes.

The director of protocol at the Cameroonian Ministry for External Relations in Yaounde also declined to comment.

Cameroon, a west African nation of more than 20 million people, sent more than 30 athletes to the London Games but has yet to win a medal.

It is not clear whether the missing athletes plan to seek asylum in the United Kingdom.

CNN's Jo Shelley and Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report.

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