Missing athlete flaunts photos on Facebook
CAMEROON boxer Simplice Fotsala, one of eight from his country to vanish from the Gold Coast athletes' village last month, appears to have been living it up in Melbourne.
On one of several Facebook pages belonging to the reportedly fun-loving 29-year-old, he openly poses, grinning and pointing, before Melbourne's Arts Centre and the Seafarers Bridge.
He is also pictured posing on some of Melbourne's city streets with his thumbs up and at a railway station by a train bound for the northeast Melbourne suburb of Morang.
Friends back in Cameroon seem to be applauding the fact he has got away with escaping.
In comments posted under the Facebook photos, friends say in French, "Cool my buddy, very well played," "Cool bro" and "Hoooooo, Australian."
Fotsala, an Olympian who also competed at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, is snapped dressed in three different outfits for the photographs which were posted on Facebook late last month.
The Cameroonian light flyweight champion is dressed casually in jeans and runners and in one photograph audaciously wears his red and black Commonwealth team slippers.
Some of the photographs, which appear to have been taken by someone else, are shot at night and some in broad daylight.
Fotsala is among five boxers and three weightlifters from the west African Republic of Cameroon who are sought by Australian Border Force officials after going on the run.
Along with athletes from Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Ghana, they have until midnight on Tuesday to apply for protection visas or risk mandatory detention and deportation for overstaying their visa.
Some of the athletes turned up in Sydney seeking legal advice on how to stay in Australia.
Officials said they walked out of the athletes' village in "three waves" in the middle of the night, and did not seem likely to return.
The Cameroon team's press attache Simon Molombe said he had "no idea" where the athletes were heading. "They just left in the night," he said.
"When we got up in the morning, they were not there. It's very, very disappointing and very, very embarrassing for Cameroon."
He told news.com.au he "doesn't think they'll come back".
The Daily Telegraph revealed exclusively that some of the missing athletes have contacted the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) in Randwick, Sydney to organise applications for protection visas.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has warned the athletes to make contact with authorities as soon as possible.
"As I've said in relation to people who have travelled to Australia on visas associated with the Commonwealth Games, people have conditions of the visas to meet," he said on Tuesday.
"If they breach the conditions, they're subject to enforcement action, and I would say to anyone that is outside of the conditions of their visa ... to make contact with the Border Force so arrangements can be made for that person to be returned to their country of origin.
"If people have claims to make, or they have submissions to put to the department, then we'll consider all of that in due course.
"But if people have breached their visa conditions, like anyone else, they're expected to operate within the law, and enforcement action will take place to identify those people and to deport them if they don't self-declare."
The missing Cameroon athletes are Fotsala, boxers Arsene Fokou Fosso, Christian Ndzie Tsoye, Christelle Ndiang and Ulrich Rodrigue Yombo, and weightlifters Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou, Petit David Minkoumba and Olivier Heracles Matam Matam.