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Twelve members of Eritrea's national team have disappeared after a tournament in Kenya...

A dozen members of Eritrea's national football team have disappeared in Kenya after the team was knocked out of the CECAFA competition for east and central African nations last week.

They are presumed to have joined the tens of thousands of Eritreans who flee their country each year to escape an increasingly paranoid and repressive regime. The players absconded after losing their quarter-final match 4-0 to Tanzania in the annual CECAFA tournament.

"The tour guide waited for them in vain at the airport on Saturday when the team was due to travel back home," Nicholas Musonye, the general secretary of CECAFA, told Reuters.

"We think they are hiding somewhere with the intention of going somewhere, or just intending to remain here. We have alerted the authorities to help track them down."

The government, which is frequently accused of repression, denies any players are missing. But the country's football federation confirmed that the players had not returned.

Stefan Coerts,