WORLD NEWS
07/20/2017 11:18 am ET

Burundi Teenagers Participating In International Robotics Competition Go Missing

All 6 have since been accounted for.

WASHINGTON ― Six teenagers from Burundi participating in an international robotics competition went missing earlier this week, according to Washington police, who say two are believed to have crossed into Canada.

The other four are believed to be in “safe hands,” according to the Washington Post, and are reportedly with family in the United States, according to the local ABC station.

A police spokeswoman would not confirm their whereabouts to HuffPost on Thursday, stressing an ongoing investigation.

She added that the department does not suspect foul play.

Based on police reports filed Wednesday, the four boys and two girls from the East African nation were last seen Tuesday evening, when the competition concluded.

The team’s mentor, Canesius Bindaba, told police that each teenager, ranging in age from 16 to 18, “went missing after the competition and he does not know” where they could have gone, according to the police reports.

According to FIRST Global, the organization sponsoring the competition held in Washington, Bindaba notified organizers after he could not locate the students Tuesday night, following the competition’s closing ceremony. 

The “security of the students is of paramount importance to FIRST Global,” the organization wrote in a statement Thursday.

The organization said the student groups participating in the competition were staying at a local college.

“FIRST Global ensures that all students get to their dormitories after the daily competition by providing safe transportation to the students staying at Trinity Washington University who are always to be under close supervision of their adult mentor and are advised not to leave the premises unaccompanied by the mentor.”

The competition, which featured teams from 157 countries, was in spotlight after an all-female team from Afghanistan were initially denied visas to travel to the U.S.

President Donald Trump intervened to allow them into the country.

Trump’s daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump attended the competition on Tuesday, as part of her initiatives to promote education.

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