The coach of the Eritrean national football team Omer Ahmed and eight of his players have disappeared in Kenya in order to defect, IBTimes UK can exclusively report.
The defection follows last week’s disappearance of two members of the national team. The Red Sea Camels are in Kenya for the Cecafa Cup.
The players went into hiding in an undisclosed location in Kenya and are now seeking UNHR protection. “We are hiding because police from the Eritrean embassy are hunting us,” one unnamed player told IBTimes UK. “The reason why we are fleeing is obvious and doesn’t need to be repeated.”
It is not the first time players from the national squad have defected abroad. Last December, 17 players and the team doctor claimed asylum in Uganda. In 2009, a dozen members of the national team disappeared in Kenya.
“Our main concern is safety, that’s why we are seeking UN protection,” the player told IBTimes UK. “Once we are protected and safe, we can go to a democratic and safe country.”