From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Sep 15 2011 - 14:45:45 EDT
Ethiopian athletes go missing after All Africa Games
15 September 2011 Last updated at 15:40 GMT
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8178587.stm> Tracking Africa's people smugglers 01 AUGUST 2009, AFRICA
Fifteen Ethiopian athletes have disappeared after competing in the All Africa Games in Mozambique.
The group went missing from the Games village outside the capital Maputo after competing, said event organisers.
Mozambique is a popular transit route for illegal immigrants from Ethiopia, Somalia and central Africa.
From there they try to enter the neighbouring economic powerhouse of South Africa, in the hope of finding better opportunities.
The missing athletes had been competing in boxing, athletics and taekwondo.
Police and immigration officials are searching for the athletes.
"Their head of mission does not know where they are," Penalva Cesar, a spokesman for the Games' organising committee, told the AFP news agency.
"After competing they did not return."
An Ethiopian athletics coach told the BBC their disappearance had come as a surprise to other team members.
"[They've gone] to South Africa most probably, we guess it, but we haven't any information about those guys," coach Yonas Gebremariam said.
He said the athletes had been due to return home directly after the competition.
More than 5,200 athletes are taking part in the four-yearly multi-sport championships in Mozambique.
Ethiopia's 180 competitors had won 17 medals - including three gold - by Thursday.
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