Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Iraqi disabled basketball players disappear from training center in Germany

From Times Live in S. Africa:

Two wheelchair-bound athletes from Iraq’s Paralympic basketball team absconded during a training tour in Germany to avoid returning home, a sports official said on Oct. 19.

Qahtan Tayeh al-Naeimi, president of Iraq’s Paralympic Committee, said on arrival in Baghdad that the two players’ whereabouts were unknown since they disappeared on Sunday night.

“They escaped from the residence in Hannover, secretly and without informing anyone,” said Naeimi, who returned with only 10 of the 12 players he took with him.

He identified the pari as Dhia Hussein, 23, and Haitham Ali Hussein, 24.

Naeimi said German authorities had been informed, and that the committee would open its own investigation.

This was the second Iraqi incident of its kind since 2006, when two Paralympic volley ball athletes did the same in the Netherlands.

Many Iraqis wish to leave their war-wracked country for Europe and the United States, but find visas are notoriously difficult to obtain.