Burundi High School Robotics Team Reported Missing In DC


Six members of the Burundi robotics team visiting Washington, who were reported missing earlier this week, have not been located as of Thursday morning, according to D.C. police.

The six teens represented Burundi, a small country in East Africa, in the inaugural FIRST Global robotics competition, competing alongside teams from more than 150 other countries.

Now, for the Burundi team, they have been last seen at the event arena around the time when the final matches were held, which was on Tuesday, and from then there weren't any sign of the students in the area.

The Metropolitan Police provided NPR with six almost identical police reports, which all state that Bindaba accompanied the teen to the robotics competition at Washington's DAR Constitution Hall.

"First Local was fully responsible for supervision of the students", Pauley said Thursday.

"Security of the students is of paramount importance to FIRST Global", organisers said. "We do not have any indication of foul play".

The males are 18-year-old Richard Irakoze and Aristide Irambona; 17-year-old Kevin Sabumukiza; and 16-year-old Don Ingabire. An all-girl squad from Afghanistan drew worldwide media attention when President Donald Trump intervened after they were denied us visas. They are in the USA on one-year visas.

The competition in Washington, created to encourage youths to pursue careers in math and science, attracted teams of teenagers from more than 150 nations.

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Six teens from Burundi are missing in Washington, D.C.

If that is the case, the teens could either be detained or could allowed to stay in the country on bond.

The Burundi Embassy in Washington does not know where the teens are, and had no further information on the two allegedly spotted heading to Canada, according to one official.

The central African country of Burundi has been plagued by violence since 2015, NPR reported.

That warning stated that rebel forces, ex-combatants and youth gangs from the Democratic Republic of Congo had reportedly attacked and kidnapped civilians, while armed groups have ambushed vehicles.

Henry Chang, a Toronto-based lawyer for Blaney McMurtry, who is not involved in the situation, said the one-year visas issued to the students by the U.S. government mean they would likely fall under the Canada-U.S. According to the United Nations, over 300,000 people fled the country since 2014 due to violent gangs from Congo and disappearances and killings allegedly committed by Burundian security forces.

More than 400,000 people have fled the country into volatile neighboring countries, human rights groups estimate, according to Reuters. As NPR's Laurel Wamsley reported, President Trump "intervened to find a way to permit the girls entry".