Have these people been abducted or they just went underground?
A dozen members of the Eritrean team for the regional CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that went missing in Kenya cannot be traced as the regional football governing body is set to discuss the next course of action against the act.
CECAFA (Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations) secretary general, Nicholas Musonye and Nairobi police boss, Benson Kibui, confirmed Wednesday that the 12, including the head coach, Omer Ahmed and captain Haile Goitom who abandoned their team are yet to be found, reports Xinhua.
“We will discuss the situation with Eritrea at our next general assembly since we cannot let them use CECAFA to run away from their country,” Musonye stated.
Among measures set to be taken against Eritrea are banning the team from the competition altogether.
He was, however, non committal when pressed why security was not tightened around the squad when initially, two players left the team ahead of their second Group B match Nov 31 despite assurances that measures would be implemented.
“That is now a police case and we are waiting for the conclusion of the investigations. After two disappeared, another nine players and the coach joined them when their tournament ended (at the group stage),” Musonye added.
After two disappeared, another nine players and the coach joined them when their tournament ended (at the group stage),” Musonye added.
On his part, Kibui once again claimed his office was yet to receive a formal report from CECAFA but investigations were ongoing.
“I will follow it up with department of immigration and find out where they are,” the police chief added.
In total, 24 Eritrean nationals have vanished on Kenyan soil during the regional event, with a dozen going missing in 2009 to match those who fled this year.
In what is becoming a ritual, a batch of seven also abandoned the team in Kampala last year having skipped the 2010 and 2011 editions.
Forced national service for youth, extreme repression and lack of freedom are cited as reasons why many Eritreans seek to flee their nation..