- Eight athletes from Cameroon are said to have absconded from their team's camp at the ongoing Commonwealth events in Gold Coast, Australia
- The athletes were said to have left their camp in groups between April 8 and 10
- However, their visas are valid until the middle of next month after which they will be declared wanted by the Australian authorities
- Cameroon have only won one medal so far in the events - a silver medal in the Weightlifting category (90kg)
Cameroon have declared eight of their athletes at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Australia missing according to a statement they released on Wednesday, April 11.
The central African country are said to have traveled to the events with a 24-man team and eight of them are reported to have vanished in the space of three days according to CNN.
Three of them disappeared on the night of April 8, while two reported missing on April 9, while the remaining group left at night on April 10. Two of the eight left without competing.
Team coordinator Simon Molombe admits that he is not sure they will be coming back. "I don't think they will be back," Cameroon's Molombe told CNN Sport, confirming their disappearance had been reported to Australian police.
According to the team statement, the missing athletes are:
• Weight lifter Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou
• Boxer Arsene Fokou
• Boxer Christelle Ndiang
• Boxer Christian Ndzie Tchoyi
• Weight lifter Olivier Hercales Matam Matam
• Weightlifter Petit David Minkoumba
• Boxer Simplice Fotsala
• Boxer Ulrich Yombo
"Most of them departed in the night when everyone was sleeping. Nobody knows the direction they have gone," Cameroon team spokesman Simon Lyonga told CNN affiliate Seven News.
The Cameroonian athletes are nowhere according to reports meanwhile; they have valid visas until May 15, allowing them to spend another month legally in Australia.
However, Commonwealth Games Federation CEO, David Grevemberg, says the situation is disappointing but maintained that the athletes free to travel within the country until the expiration of their visas next month.
"It is obviously disappointing that some of the athletes who have come didn't compete when scheduled to compete," he said at a press conference Wednesday.
"I think it is also important to remember that these athletes are guests here in Australia and are still within their visas and have the right to travel freely."
This year's edition of the events are currently underway in Australia and it is expected to be concluded on Sunday April 15.
Meanwhile, over 4,500 athletes from 71 countries are participating in the games, which began on April 5, competing for a total of 275 gold medals
But this is not the first time athletes have disappeared during major sporting events, as 25 competitors went missing in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, while 26 disappeared during the 2002 Games in Manchester.
At London 2012, seven Cameroon athletes disappeared during the Olympics.
Home to 200 different linguistic groups, French Cameroon gained independence from France in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon.
Last year there were violent clashes as protesters took to the streets in Cameroon's Anglophone regions calling for symbolic independence from the country's French-speaking majority.
Peter Beattie, chairman of the local organizing committee, said it was not a surprise.
"Frankly, the bottom line is it happens regularly within Australia, there is a mechanism in place to deal with it and I don't get too excited by this," he told reporters Wednesday.
In January, Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned athletes who were planning to attend the games they needed to follow the country's laws.
"Our message to the half a percent of people who might think that they can overstay a visa or not act within the conditions of their visa is that Australia has very tough laws and they need to abide by the law," he said in Canberra on January 30.
Cameroon have only won one medal this year - through Clementine Noumbissi in the women's Weightlifting category (90kg) on April 9.
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