Six members of the Burundi robotics team who were competing in an international competition this week in Washington, D.C. have been reported missing.
Police tweeted missing-person flyers on Wednesday of the team members, who were last seen as a group in the area of the FIRST Global Challenge at the time of Tuesday’s finals matches. The team members, two girls and four boys, range in age from 16 to 18, reported the NY Post.
“We have been in touch with the Metropolitan Police Department; they told us that they are doing what they can to find those teens,” Benjamin Manirakiza, first counselor in the Burundi Embassy in Washington, said in a phone interview on Friday. “We have confidence in the capacity of the police … It’s very important, of course, that the kids be safe.”
The robotics event, which was held in the capital July 16-18, was open to students around the world ages 15 to 18, and 158 countries were represented. 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.
USA Today reported two of the six team members—Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, and Don Ingabire, 16—were seen entering Canada sometime after the Tuesday competition events, according to police spokeswoman Margarita Mikhaylova. The location of the other four students—identified as Aristide Irambona, 18; Nice Munezero, 17; Kevin Sabumukiza, 17; and Richard Irakoze, 18—is unknown. The teens had one-year visas for the short event.
“We don’t have an update on the whereabouts [of the others], but we have no indication that there was foul play,” Mikhaylova said.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)