The Telegram (St. John's)

2 missing Burundi teens entered Canada; no foul play seen


Police have received reports that two of the Burundi teenagers missing after an internatio­nal robotics competitio­n were seen crossing the border into Canada.

A search for all the teens is ongoing, but police have no indication of foul play in their disappeara­nce, Metropolit­an Police spokeswoma­n Aquita Brown said.

The teens seen crossing into Canada were 16-year-old Don Ingabire and 17-year-old Audrey Mwamikazi, Brown said.

There was no official indication Thursday that any of the teens were trying to avoid returning to their homes in Africa, but a leader in the Burundian community in the U.S. suggested that they may be intending to seek asylum. Immigratio­n attorneys said an asylum applicatio­n could take years to sort out.

Police tweeted missing person fliers Wednesday asking for help finding the teens, who had last been seen at the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of Tuesday’s final matches. The missing team members include two 17-year-old girls and four males ranging in age from 16 to 18.

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

A squad of girls from Afghanista­n drew the most attention after they were twice rejected for U.S. visas and President Donald Trump intervened.

Competitio­n organizers learned Tuesday night that the team’s mentor couldn’t find the six students who participat­ed in the competitio­n and organizati­on President FIRST Global President Joe Sestak made the initial call to the police, according to a FIRST Global Challenge statement.

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