Eritrean soccer players apply for asylum in Uganda

A Ugandan government official says 17 Eritrean soccer players

and a team doctor have applied for political asylum after going

missing during a regional tournament.

Musa Ecweru, Uganda’s minister for disaster preparedness and

refugees, said the applications were being considered by


Police had been searching for the Eritreans since they left

their team hotel on Tuesday after losing in the east and central

African CECAFA Cup. They didn’t return home with the remainder of

Eritrea’s traveling party.

Eritreans have previously not returned home after competing in

sports events abroad.

The entire Eritrea team sought refugee status at the 2009 CECAFA

Cup in Kenya, while some Eritrean athletes went missing at the

London Olympics.