Burundi team may have disappeared on own accord

Two of the Six Burundi Teens Missing from DC Tech Competition Found In Canada

Two of the Six Burundi Teens Missing from DC Tech Competition Found In Canada

Organizers of a robotics competition say six teenagers from Burundi who went missing at the conclusion of the event may have "self-initiated" their disappearance.

Police posted photographs of the six - four young males and two females - who participated in the First Global Challenge robotics meet - on Twitter.

U.S. President Donald Trump intervened, though, allowing them to enter the U.S. and compete. "There were indications that the student's absence may have been self-initiated, including leaving all their keys in their chaperone's bag and the removal of students' clothes from their rooms", the competition organisers, FIRST Global, said in a statement.

Police say two of them were spotted entering Canada, declining to say what USA state they crossed from.

Organizers of an worldwide robotics competition in the USA capital believe the disappearance of six teens from Burundi may have been "self-initiated".

She says the whereabouts of their team members is unknown, and that the search for all the teens remains ongoing, but she stresses that police have no indication of foul play in their disappearance.

Two of the teens - identified as Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, and Don Ingabire, 16- were reportedly seen crossing the border into Canada.

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

The Burundian Embassy in Washington said that neither did it know about the robot contest nor the participation of a Burundian team.

All six of the teenagers from Burundi, an East African nation of about 10 million people, have one year visas.

The competition's webpage on Team Burundi says team members were selected from schools in Bujumbura, the capital city.

They believe they will have a better chance of asylum in Canada which has a more welcoming stance on refugees than America, he said.

And even if ICE declines to seek detention, it can take several years for applicants to have their formal interview to determine whether they are eligible for asylum.

He called the teens' departure disappointing and said economic impoverishment, rather than political persecution, drives most decisions to seek asylum from Burundi. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country.

Meanwhile, the pair's four teammates, including two 17-year-old girls and two boys aged 17 and 18, are also thought to be safe, with police declining to release further information, according to the Post.

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