KINSHASA (AFP) – Six members of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Olympic and Paralympic teams are seeking asylum in Britain, citing political and rights abuses in their country, an official said Wednesday.
Lawyer Patrick Pindi, who heads a Congolese association for disabled people, said three members of the Olympic delegation, a Paralympic committee official and two disabled athletes “don’t want to go home.”
The three Olympic delegates — judo trainer Blaise Bekwa, athletics coach Guy Nkita and boxing coach Adelard Ibula — have been missing since the Olympic Games finished August 12.
Pindu said the disabled athletes — Dedeline Mibamba and Levy Kitambala — and the delegation official, Robert Dikazolele, had called him on September 7 to tell him they would not return to DR Congo.
“They told me that the country is in a state of insecurity, that there is bad governance and gruesome rights violations,” he said, adding that the delegates said disabled people are treated without respect and political opponents are mistreated.
Pindu said his organisation deplored Mibamba and Kitambala’s decision.
“I had said to them that it was the first time that people living with handicaps had taken part in such an important international event and that it would be better if they came home,” Pindu said.
He added that he warned the athletes their decision could impact future competitors trying to secure visas.
“But apparently our advice was in vain,” he said. “They have chosen their path’