Although they have more than a month left on their visas, a number of African athletes have been reported missing after fleeing the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The first report came in on Wednesday, when the Cameroon team reported to Queensland Police that five boxers and three weightlifters had gone missing from the Athletes’ Village, in three separate waves between Sunday to Wednesday.
Now, five more athletes from Rwanda, Uganda and Sierra Leone have “gone missing”, too, reports Business Live:
Gold Coast organisers confirmed reports that athletes from Rwanda and Uganda were thought to have gone missing, while they were also looking to verify the whereabouts of two squash players from Sierra Leone.
Of course, no judgement is being made just yet, with Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg telling reporters that:
“We’re obviously looking at it very carefully.
“We have a service to people who have legitimate visas to be in this country,” he said.
“Until it becomes a true issue and somebody has outstayed their visa, or have formally applied for asylum, we just need to continue to monitor the situations.
“The focus now is to support teams in trying to track down the athletes who are missing.”
However, overstaying their welcome is nothing new: at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, more than 100 athletes lingered around the country after their visa had expired.
Meanwhile, Grevemberg insisted the welfare of the athletes came first:
“We obviously have been in close contact with Cameroon officials,” he said.
“We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, whereabouts of these athletes.”
Let’s hope so, mate – but then again, it’s not up to him: Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned that athletes would be forcibly removed from the country if they attempted to overstay their visas:
“They aren’t going to game the system,” he told local radio. “Australian Border Force officers will find these people (and) they’ll be held in immigration detention until they can be deported.”
Dutton is the same chap who made all that noise about offering white South African farmers asylum. Turns out he doesn’t really care about the farmers, but was just trying to win points with right-wing voters Down Under.
You can bet he isn’t going to show a shred of humanity to any of the African athletes.
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