Burundi Robotics Team Reported Missing

6 teenagers from African robotics team missing after competition in DC

The members of the Burundi team, comprising of four males and two females, were last seen after the competition in the 1700 block of D Street, Northwest, at 5 pm on Tuesday, according to police reports provided to BuzzFeed News.

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

Tuesday marked the third and last day of the competition.

Escotto said FIRST Global President Joe Sestak, a former Navy admiral and congressman, called police after receiving word from the team's mentor, Canesius Bindaba, that the teens had gone missing.

"Security of the students is of paramount importance to FIRST Global", organisers said.

Police say they have no indication of foul play in their disappearance.

The other robotics members still missing are Richard Irakoze, 18; Kevin Sabumukiza, 17; Nice Munezero, 17; and Aristide Irambona, 18.

A team of girls from Afghanistan made worldwide headlines when they were twice rejected for USA visas before President Donald Trump intervened, NBC News noted.

The Burundians had residency rights in the United States, having been granted one-year visas.

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According to the U.S. State Department, "The political situation in Burundi is tenuous, and there is sporadic violence throughout the country, including frequent gunfire and grenade attacks by armed groups". It included 163 teams of high school students from around the globe, including a team of young women from Afghanistan who were initially denied visas twice, leading to global outcry.

In each report, Bindaba told police that each teen "went missing after the competition and he does not know where he could have went".

Authorities have tried to reach out to family members of the teens back in Burundi, but have not been successful.

The Afghan girls were eventually allowed to travel to the U.S. on a ten-day "parole" permit, after President Donald Trump personally interceded with the State Department, according to the White House.

The Burundian embassy in Washington did not answer multiple phone calls or respond to an email from ABC News.

The Burundi government has been accused of manipulating the justice system and of reporting biased and misleading information to bolster its legitimacy; there is a lot of violence as a result of opposition within the country. The teens had one-year visas. In the past two years, more than 400,000 people have fled the country, according to human rights activists.

Participants compete in the First Global International Robot Olympics on Monday.

Hundreds of people have been killed, and hundreds more have disappeared, allegedly the work of Burundi's security forces.



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