Two Congo swimmers missing in Melbourne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Two Congo swimmers missing in Melbourne

04/04/2007 05:47:34 AM Comments (0)

Two swimmers from the central African nation of Congo have failed to catch their flights home after the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, the federal government has revealed.

FINA officials and the Department of Immigration were searching for swimmers Aymard Lumuamu-Dimbu and Iglay Dangassat-Sissoulou, a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister confirmed on Tuesday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo sent four swimmers to Melbourne for the championships, and two of them are believed to have caught their return flight, The Age reported.

But the other swimmers did not fly out of Australia, although their visas allow them to stay legally until June 21.

The men failed to qualify beyond their first heats.

Clyde Salumu, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Association of Victoria, said he would help the swimmers should they seek his assistance.

"The civil war has not ended - there has been war since 1997 and millions are dead. In many places, there is serious instability, militia and areas that are dangerous," he said.

Almost 4 million people out of the Congo's population of 62 million have died from injuries in the civil war and war-related diseases.

A further 1.1 million have succumbed to HIV/AIDS.

Forty athletes and officials sought asylum in Australia following the Commonwealth Games last year, many from Africa.

Of the 38 visa applications decided so far, 32 had protection visas approved and five were refused, The Age said.

One case is being reviewed and another two applications are pending. Four people are still unaccounted for.

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