Five Eritrean footballers disappear in Uganda

The national team has already been excluded from certain African competitions because its players took advantage of traveling abroad to flee their country.

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The Eritrean football team in October 2015 in Francistown, Botswana, during a World Cup qualifier. MONIRUL BHUIYAN / AFP

Five players of the Eritrean national football team are missing in Uganda, where they played a regional tournament, said Thursday, October 3, an official of the regional confederation of football.

"Five members of the Eritrean football team have gone missing since Sunday and efforts have been made to find out where they are", told AFP Rogers Mulindwa, an official of the Council of Football Associations of East and Central Africa (Cecafa). "The team was in Jinja (southeastern Uganda) for the match, and we did not (then) more seen five of its members, added the same source. Police and other parent agencies have been notified. "

Mr. Mulindwa did not want to speak about rumors that the five men fled to seek asylum in Uganda and leave their country, controlled with an iron hand by President Issaias Afeworki since 1993.

Read also Part of Eritrea football team seeks political asylum in Botswana

Eritrea was readmitted to Cecafa in May after six years of exclusion due to tensions with neighboring Ethiopia. His team had also been excluded from some continental competitions because his players often took advantage of traveling abroad to flee a country where military service is unlimited in time.

In October 2015, Botswana granted political asylum to ten Eritrean national team footballers who had applied for it after playing in a qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup. In 2012, 18 Eritrean footballers participating in a tournament had already claimed asylum in Uganda. In 2007, six footballers had done the same in Angola, and twelve more in 2009 in Kenya.


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