Thomas Essomba (l) is one of seven Cameroonian athletes who reportedly disappeared from London's Olympic Village. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON -- A Cameroon Olympic official says seven competitors are missing from the athletes' village.
The Ministry of Sports and Physical Education said Monday evening that the athletes -- five boxers, a swimmer and a soccer player -- are suspected of having left to stay in Europe for economic reasons.
"What began as rumor has finally turned out to be true," David Ojong, the mission head, said in a letter sent to the Cameroonian sports ministry. "Seven Cameroonian athletes who participated at the 2012 London Olympic Games have disappeared from the Olympic Village."
A reserve goalkeeper for the women's soccer team, Drusille Ngako, was reportedly the first to disappear. She vanished while her teammates left for Coventry for their last preparatory encounter against New Zealand.
Her disappearance was followed by that of swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue and five boxers -- Thomas Essomba, Christian Donfack Adjoufack, Abdon Mewoli, Blaise Yepmou Mendouo and Serge Ambomo -- who were eliminated from the Games, the BBC reported.
International Olympic Committee officials said Tuesday they had heard nothing about the missing athletes.
"We are unaware of it," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said when asked whether organizers had heard of it.
(Ashley Welch, NBC Chicago)