Burundi missing teens in Canada after U.S. competition


Six teens from Burundi were reported missing this week in D.C., where they were visiting to participate in an worldwide robotics competition. Later two of the teens were spotted crossing into Canada.

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

The Metropolitan Police Department tweeted photos and information of the missing teenagers Wednesday.

The teens were reportedly last seen at 5:00 p.m. ET, police said.

The team, consisting of two 17-year-old girls and four boys, aged 16 to 18, was reported missing after the competition's closing ceremony in Washington on Tuesday night.

A statement reads that safety is of first importance at the competition, and that the organization provides measures to keep the teens safe. It says the teens were chosen from schools around the capital, Bujumbura, and are accompanied by a mentor.

FIRST Global President Joe Sestak called the police to report the students as missing, according to the organization's statement, and "proper follow on reports have been submitted to the police who are investigating the case".

Authorities also says they canvassed the location where the event was held.

The State Department directed questions to DC law enforcement.

Burundi has been roiled by civil war and complaints of human rights abuses.

Nkurunziza won another term in disputed elections in July 2015 and remains in power, but Burundi has stayed unsettled. That election sparked massive protests and led to an attempted coup that same year.

The government issued a warning in June cautioning USA citizens against traveling to Burundi "due to political tensions, political and criminal violence and the potential for civil unrest". He said that economic impoverishment, rather than political persecution, is the driving force in most people's decision to seek asylum from Burundi, and he said it unfairly tarnishes Burundi's reputation when people flee and exaggerate the fears of political violence. FIRST Global informed the police later that day. "Trinity was notified of the missing Burundi team and is fully cooperating with the investigation".

The keys to the students' rooms were left in the mentor's bag and their clothes had been taken from the rooms, the organisation said.

This competition had attracted interest as of a team of teenage afghan girls had difficulty in obtaining permission to enter on the territory of the united states, what they have come to have. Organizers had previously hosted domestic competitions, but this was the first global event.