KAMPALA, 28 July 2021 – The Ugandan weightlifter deported from Japan last week after going missing has been released from detention.
Police in Uganda released Julius Ssekitoleko, Tuesday on a police bond, pending further investigation.
The weightlifter had traveled to Japan for the Tokyo Summer Olympics but did not qualify to compete and was advised to return home.
Police in Uganda are investigating how he manage to travel to Japan reportedly to participate in the Olympics whereas he did not qualify to compete in the games.
He reportedly went missing – a move that Japanese authorities interpreted to mean he was trying to go underground or seek political asylum.
Ssekitoleko reportedly left a note in his hotel room saying he intended to stay on in Japan and seek employment.
Media reporting on his release cites his spouse as confirming the information.
The weightlifter had been held for six days by the Ugandan police prior to his release on bond.
A lawyer for the weightlifter, Phillip Munabi, told reporters Tuesday that he was relieved that Ssekitoleko was out of detention.
Ugandans had reacted furiously on social media following his arrest and detention upon arriving back in Uganda.
Last month, a Ugandan rugby player, James Odong, “disappeared” in Monaco, where the country’s national team had traveled to play one of their Olympic qualifying matches.
Many African athletes have taken advantage of visits to developed nations to “disappear” in the hope of staying on and applying for asylum or seeking employment.
During the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, many African athletes, including six Ugandans went missing and later tried to apply for asylum in Australia.