4 Ethiopian athletes missing in U.S. after track meet

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4 Ethiopian athletes missing in U.S. after track meet(Reuters) – Four of an Ethiopian track team competing at an international event in Oregon were in what said on Monday might be an attempt to seek asylum or otherwise stay in United States.

athletes, who were not believed to be victims of foul play, traveled to University of Oregon in Eugene last week to compete in International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships, a university spokeswoman said.

is being handled like a persons case,” spokeswoman Julie Brown said, adding investigators were looking into possibility four had left willingly to try to seek asylum. “We do have third- they are safe.”

The four, a 17-year-old boy and three women between the ages of 18 and 20, had finished their events when they were reported Saturday, said.

The University of Oregon Police Department, which is leading search efforts, said the four were not believed to have left the state. were looking at the possibility they abandoned their team in an effort to remain in the country, said university police spokesman Kelly McIver. [eap_ad_2] “We have not ruled anything out,” he said. “But we can’t confirm yet if an attempt to claim asylum.”

Ethiopia is one of the world’ poorest countries and has been accused by rights campaigners and the opposition of stifling dissent and torturing detainees.

More than 100 countries were represented in the World Junior Championships, which began last Tuesday and concluded on Sunday.During the 2012 London Olympics, a 15-year-old Ethiopian boy who took part in opening ceremonies disappeared. Authorities, who speculated he might have been trying to gain asylum in England, found him in London after issuing a missing persons alert. He later returned to Ethiopia.[eap_ad_3]