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Monday, March 16, 2015

Jimmy Thoronka, the athlete from Sierra Leone became homeless

Jimmy Thoronka, the athlete from Sierra Leone who disappeared at the end of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last August and was then arrested in London on Friday, has been released from police custody and taken to Home Office accommodation.

The whereabouts of the 20-year-old, Sierra Leone’s leading 100m sprinter, had been a mystery until last week.

He was arrested for overstaying his visa and held at Walworth police station, where he claimed asylum. Speaking to the Guardian before his arrest, he said he hadn’t wanted to go home after hearing that his adoptive family had been wiped out in the Ebola crisis.

Immigration officials took over his case while he was in custody and he was released at about 10pm on Saturday night.

“I am so happy that I am free again,” he said on Sunday. “At first I was told that they were going to send me back to Sierra Leone and I cried and cried. I was very
Thoronka, who has spent the winter living rough in London, said two plainclothes police officers arrested him as he was hurrying to a park where he had left a bag. He said he was asked about drugs, searched and taken to a police station, where officers brought him tea and blankets.

A Sierra Leone government spokesman said it was aware of Thoronka’s ordeal and that his village in the Bombali district had been badly hit by Ebola. “All that area is currently under quarantine,” he said.

John Momodu Kargbo, who heads an Ebola response team in the district said his village was in the poorest chiefdom of the Bombali region.

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