By Paul Fauvet
(IOL) – The 15 Ethiopian athletes who disappeared from the Games Village last week at the All-Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, have been found in South Africa, according to the Mozambican police.
The spokesman for the General Command of the police, Pedro Cossa, told reporters that all the fugitive athletes are currently in South Africa, and that a Mozambican, whom he named only as Jorge, has confessed to helping them cross the border in exchange for $300 to $400 per athlete.
Cossa said the police suspect that this man, who is trained in international relations, has a long track record of trafficking people over the border into South Africa. He claimed that Jorge had been in contact with an individual inside South Africa (whom he did not name) who made arrangements to receive the Ethiopians. The disappearance of the Ethiopians was announced on September 14 by the games organising committee (COJA).
The head of the Ethiopian mission himself had informed COJA that 15 of the athletes had vanished from the village, but no names were released. COJA informed the police and immigration authorities, but by this time it was likely that the Ethiopians were already in South Africa.
Ninety-six Ethiopian athletes attended the games, and between them they won 28 medals (six gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze). – Independent Foreign Service