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Burundi Robotics Team Teenagers Missing After US Competition

Burundi Robotics Team Teenagers Missing After US Competition”

Police have received reports that two of the Burundi teenagers listed as missing after an worldwide robotics competition have been seen crossing the border into Canada. According to NBC News, they include two 17-year-old girls and four teenage boys ages 16 to 18.

The missing teenagers traveled to the United States from the East African country to compete in the worldwide robotics competition attended by teams from more than 150 nations.

The teens were taking part in an worldwide robotics competition with four teammates in the US capital before going missing Tuesday, shortly after the contest's closing ceremony.

The team was last seen near the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of of Tuesday's final matches, the Washington Post reported.

In a statement given to FOX 5, the competition's host said, "Security of the students is of paramount importance to FIRST Global".

There are no indications of foul play, police said.

The teens; Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, Don Ingabire, 16, Aristide Irambona, 18, Nice Munezero, 17, Kevin Sabumukiza, 17, and Richard Irakoze, 18, were last seen on Tuesday at around 5pm in the 1700 block of D Street, police said.

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The teens traveled to the USA from the small east African country on one-year visas to attend the competition, the station reported.

Burundi saw an outbreak of political violence in April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in office. At one point the teams from Gambia and Afghanistan were denied visas to attend the event with their inventions, but the teams were later allowed entry into the U.S.

During the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 21 athletes from Africa went missing or claimed asylum, including members of national teams from Congo, Cameroon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

If they make an application, he said, Immigration and Customs Enforcement could seek to detain the teens pending removal proceedings.

United Burundian-American Community Association chairman Oscar Niyiragira said he did not know what was happening with the teens, but the odds of asylum may be better in Canada because of the Trump administration. "The country's once vibrant independent media and nongovernmental organizations have been decimated, and more than 400,000 people have fled the country".

In the aftermath of that election, state security forces have conducted numerous killings, disappearances, abductions, torture, rape, and arbitrary arrests, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), with attacks and killings by armed opposition groups as well. Sestak then called a volunteer who helped Bindaba file a report with police.



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