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Gambians refused US visas for robot competition

BY: Daily Graphic
President Adama Barrow of The Gambia
President Adama Barrow of The Gambia

Several Gambian students have been refused visas to the US to take part in an international robotics competition without being given any reasons, reports Al Jazeera.

The Doha-based broadcaster quotes the Director of The Gambia's ministry of higher education, Moktar Darboe, as saying the students had to pay $170 (£131) each for the visa application.

"Their parents had to sacrifice a lot to pay this fee," he said.

An Al Jazeera producer tweets that the team will send their robot to the US competition:

The First Global Challenge, which begins this July 16, is asking students to come up with robotics solutions to finding clean water.

A group of Afghan students have also been refused visas.

Joe Sestak, the President of FIRST Global, told the US newspaper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that they knew the chances of the students getting vias were slim.

“These nations [Afghanistan and Gambia] have some of the highest refusal rates. Gambia is 70 per cent," he is quoted as saying.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds that the State Department does not comment on visa denials.

It said that these were the only two nations that had been refused out of more than 160.