The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: NPC Coach Leads Hunt for Missing Athletes

RWANDA sitting volleyball team Dutch coach Peter Karreman is leading the search for four missing athletes, who escaped from a training camp in Holland and the Paralympic Village.

James Rutikanga and Eric Ngirinshuti, members of the national sitting volleyball team went missing during the closing ceremony of the London Paralympic Games on September 9.

Karreman, who has contacted friends and officials in London, said in an email, "I contact you, because we are looking for some players that stayed behind in the UK. Since last week, their visas have expired."

"The reason why we are looking for them is because we are afraid that they will end up in criminal circuits or on the streets begging for food," Karreman's e-mail, also copied to Times Sport, reads.

"For all our good work in Rwanda and with the NPC Rwanda, this is an enormous step back for the development of sport in Rwanda. And it is a very bad example for all the current and potential players in Sitting Volleyball or whatever sport,"

"You can imagine that the Ministry will decline teams to travel abroad in future, because every time players stay behind. In this way, the players with the right intention have to suffer," said Karreman.

The Dutchman added that the players stayed behind under the pressure of so-called friends, "they are misinformed about their chances and opportunities in the modern world."

All missing players are staying illegally and have no passports, no identity papers and no money. Because Rwanda is a safe and stable country for at least the last 10 years, Karreman believes there is no probable cause for asylum.

"If you come in contact with them, please tell them to return to their country (for their own sake). Or if you have any information about them, please inform the local authorities," he pleaded.

Homeless!

According to the coach, Ngirinshuti, who is a father and husband is probably staying in Manchester (UK) but last known information about him is that he has registered himself as 'homeless', while Rutikanga is residing in Euston in London (UK) and has since changed his name to JP McWilliams.

Prior to the Olympic Games, two sitting volleyball players went missing during the team's pre-training camp in the Netherlands.

Double amputee Ntawiha Fidèle, a 4th year student and one leg amputee Charles Ntagawa, a 1st year student, went missing since May and their probable residences are in Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands.

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