A total of 6 African high school students were reported missing from an international robotics fair in Washington, and media reports confirm none of the whiz kids have been found as at the time of this update.
Washington police said on Thursday that two of the teenagers from Burundi — Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, and Don Charu Ingabire, 16 — were seen crossing into Canada, according to a report from USA Today.
Richard Irakoze, 18, Kevin Sabumukiza, 17, Nice Munezero, 17 and Aristide Irambona, 18, have not been sighted anywhere.
Margarita Mikhaylova, a police spokeswoman who granted the news outlet an interview, said: “We don’t have an update on the whereabouts of the others, but we have no indication that there was foul play.”
None of the missing students from East Africa have been found as of Sunday.
Investigators are working toward ascertaining if the teens’ disappearance was a conspiracy between their families or of their own plans.
During the 3-day FIRST Global Challenge which kicked off on 16 July, the Burundi team were in attendance. A total 150 nations reportedly took part in the event to celebrate the impact of science in world development.
An official statement from First Global reads: “There were indications that the student’s absence may have been self-initiated.”
The organization notified authorities of the incident earlier on Wednesday, and search for the boys is underway.
Ivanka Trump, daughter to the US President Donald J. Trump, was present at the world event on Tuesday. She was among the long list of celebrities who found time to hang out with the kids.
President Trump endeared himself to the general public for personally intervening to ensure that representatives from Afghanistan got the necessary travel documents to take part in the competitions.
The team leader from Burundi found out on Tuesday, shortly after the games ended, that the kids — 4 boys and two girls — had dropped their dorm keys and disappeared into thin air.
Police say there’s no foul play suspected in the disappearances.
“There has been no further update at this time,” police said in a statement.
“The investigation remains open.”
The mentor for Team Burundi, Canesius Bindaba, said he panicked after the horrific discovery and sent messages to the kids’ parents, but adds that their responses sparked suspicion; they asked him to relax, that everything would be OK.
“For me, they were some kind of hope for the future of this project in Burundi,” Bindaba said in a statement.
“It’s an opportunity for my entire country.”
Bindaba agreed that his country of 10 million people, with a long history of political instability and political crisis, suffers brain drain; intellectuals always desert the country for greener pastures elsewhere.
“Ugushaka Nugushobora,” is the slogan for Team Burundi. It means “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” in their native Kirundi language.
“We get our motivation for winning this competition through this slogan, which inspires Burundian team,” according to First Global website.