African teens attending robotics competition in D.C. disappear

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Six African teenagers attending an international robotics competition in Washington, D.C., this week turned up missing on the last day of the event, and two have already been spotted crossing into Canada, police have reported.

The six teens from the Burundi robotics team had come to compete in the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition in D.C., which opened Sunday and ended Tuesday evening. The event was attended by students from 157 nations.

A group of Afghan girls seeking to attend the event was earlier granted visas after President Trump intervened on their behalf.

The six students, four males and two females, ages 16 to 18, were reportedly last seen Tuesday at 5 p.m. as the competition’s final matches and closing ceremonies were ending.

The group’s adult mentor, Canesius Bindaba, reportedly discovered later Tuesday night that they were missing, and FIRST Global President Joe Sestak contacted police.

Bindaba said he originally believed the students had simply taken a shuttle bus back to their dormitories, but upon searching there, discovered that the runaways had left their keys in Bindaba’s bag and taken all their clothes with them. He told police the teens all have one-year visas to stay in the U.S.

NBC News quoted Hassan Ahmad, an immigration lawyer in Virginia, as saying that if the teens apply for asylum, it could take years for a court hearing to be scheduled to have their cases reviewed.

Two of the missing teens, Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, and Don Ingabire, 16, were seen crossing the border into Canada, but their current location is unknown.

The missing teens were identified as:

  • Richard Irakoze, 18, a black male with a dark complexion who is 5-foot-11, 140 pounds.
  • Kevin Sabumukiza, 17, a black male with a medium complexion who is 6-foot-4, 160 pounds.
  • Nice Munezero, 17, a black female with a dark complexion who is 5-foot-7, 140 pounds.
  • Aristide Irambona, 18, a black male with a dark complexion who is 5-foot-6, 130 pounds.
  • Don Ingabire, 16, a black male with a medium complexion who is 5-foot-8, 130 pounds.
  • Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, a black female with a dark complexion who is 5-foot-3, 130 pounds.

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