London Olympics: Cameroon athletes 'abscond'

Serge Ambomo boxing against Yakup Sener of Turkey at the London 2012 Olympics Serge Ambomo is one of five boxers to have gone missing

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Seven Cameroonian athletes have disappeared while in Britain for the Olympics, officials said.

David Ojong, the head of the Cameroon delegation, said five boxers, a swimmer and a female football player had been missing since the weekend.

The reason for their disappearance is not known, amid some reports that they wanted to stay in the UK for economic reasons.

Mr Ojong said the athletes had visas allowing them to stay until November.

"What began as rumour has finally turned out to be true," Mr Ojong said, in a letter sent to the Cameroonian sports ministry.

"Seven Cameroonian athletes who participated at the 2012 London Olympic Games have disappeared from the Olympic Village."

A reserve goalkeeper for the women's soccer team, Drusille Ngako, was the first to vanish, according to Mr Ojong.

She disappeared while her teammates left for Coventry for their last preparatory encounter against New Zealand, he said.

Her disappearance was followed by that of swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue, reportedly along with his personal belongings.

The five boxers who had been eliminated from the games disappeared from London's Olympic village on Sunday, Mr Ojong said.

They were named as Thomas Essomba, Christian Donfack Adjoufack, Abdon Mewoli, Blaise Yepmou Mendouo and Serge Ambomo.

The home office said it could not comment on whether any of the seven had sought asylum in the country, the Associated Press reports.

According to the news agency, it is not the first case of its kind, with Sudan's embassy confirming last month that three athletes had gone missing.

One had applied for asylum and the other two were expected to do so, reports AP.

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