Robotics Team Missing

Six members of Burundi team may have voluntarily fled to Canada

A team of six high-school age students was reported missing following a national robotics competition that took place in Washington, D.C., this week.

The FIRST Global Challenge 2017, held Sunday through Tuesday of this past week, included six members of the Burundi robotics team ranging from ages 16-18, whose whereabouts have not been confirmed since the end of the competition. The Washington Post reported this morning that two of the six were located in Canada and that all six are “in good hands”, alluding to the possibility that the teens left voluntarily. Burundi has been in various states of turmoil since 2015, including an ongoing civil war, an attempted coup, and alleged human rights abuses. More than 400,000 people have fled the country over the last two years, per the Post article.

Police tweeted missing person fliers Wednesday asking for help finding the teens last seen in the area of the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of Tuesday’s final matches, CBS News reported.

The competition included people from 157 nations. It was held at Constitution Hall in Northwest Washington, D.C. Competitors are expected to have a general knowledge of electrical basics such as gear assembly, DC motors, servo motors, system wiring, sensors, and batteries. Mechanical components and techniques covered include extrusion, brackets, joints, bracket assembly techniques, bearings, linear motion, hardware, adapters, motion components, wheels, sprockets and chain, pulleys and round belt. Basic building incorporates knowledge of drive trains and robotic arms.

FIRST Global—engineered by the same organization that holds frequent youth robotics competitions across the country throughout the year—is the preeminent international event for the field and incorporates philanthropic efforts such as addressing global water crises and poverty.

The two individuals reportedly sighted in Canada are Don Charu Ingabire, 16, and Audrey Mwamikazi, 17. The names of the other four reported missing are Richard Irakoze, 18, Kevin Sabumukiza, 17, Nice Munezero, 17 and Aristide Irambona, 18.

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