The Cameroon press attaché Emmanuel Tataw said the seven Olympic athletes have visas that are valid for the United Kingdom that allows them to remain for six months in the country. He said that other athletes from Cameroon have left their squads during other previously held international sporting events held in Athens and Melbourne.
Tataw said that for the most part, the athletes that leave do not return. He added that they usually end up looking for better international training facilities.
Cameroon had 33 athletes attending the London Games and over 50% of them who were members of the women’s soccer team that left the Games after being eliminated. The seven athletes that remain missing include a swimmer, a soccer player and five boxers. All seven of the athletes competed and completed their events at the Games, prior to going missing.
Cameroon is a nation of close to 20 million that is predominately French speaking, in the west central region of Africa. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an output economically per person of only $1,230. The press attaché said the seven left the east London Olympic Athletes Village in the dead of night without receiving any authorization from the Cameroon officials.
Officials from the London Games said on Wednesday that officials from Cameroon had asked for help in trying to locate the missing athletes. However, they stressed that no terms of their visas had been breached and no immigration laws had been broken.