Eritrean players seek asylum in Uganda

By Andrew Jackson OryadaBBC Sport, Kampala
Eritrean flag

The 17 Eritrean footballers and team doctor who vanished in Uganda on Tuesday have all applied for asylum in the country.

David Apollo Kazungu, the Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, told BBC Sport that the Eritreans had met them this morning seeking asylum.

"They told us that conditions in their country are not good and we are looking at their conditions and papers," he explained.

"But they remain under our authority now since they have registered."

Kazungi added they are working with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to see how they can help the 18 Eritreans.

The men failed to return to the team hotel on Sunday after claiming that they were going shopping, eventually just five officials and two players returned to Eritrea yesterday.

The Eritrean team had been eliminated from the on-going regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at the group stage, where they drew with Zanzibar and lost to Malawi and Rwanda.

Nicholas Musonye, the secretary general of Cecafa, the east and central African regional football body, said it was good news the Eritrean players had been found.

However, he added it was a bad trend for Eritrean players to disappear at such tournaments on a regular basis, after similar incidents at the Cecafa tournaments in 2009 and 2010.

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