- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2001

Tanzanian officials asked the State Department yesterday to help reunite a scoutmaster with four teen-agers who sneaked away from the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia last week.
Mustafa Salim Nyang'anyi, the nation's ambassador to the United States, said he officially asked the State Department to intercede with the Immigration and Naturalization Service's handling of the boys at the scoutmaster's urging.
Despite the ambassador's request, INS officials yesterday moved the boys from a secure facility in Northern Virginia to a juvenile care facility in Pennsylvania.
"I'm told it's a better facility," Mr. Nyang'anyi said later in the day. "The boys are resisting going back. They have pleaded to remain in the United States, they claim for educational reasons."
They were transported to the new facility in Burke County, near Reading, Pa., about 2:30 yesterday afternoon and "were in good spirits and excellent health," INS spokeswoman Ernestine Fobbs said.
She said the boys will be able to attend classes and exercise at the facility, but "for their own safety, they will not be able to leave."
"We're transferring them because it's a better facility that will be able to accommodate all four of them," she said. "We're still reviewing their cases."
The four Scouts — one 15, one 16 and two 17 — were part of a nine-member group that traveled from their home on Africa's eastern coast to participate in the 10-day Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Va., that ended Wednesday.
They were reported missing last Sunday and the FBI determined they had left the Jamboree voluntarily.
The four later turned up in the District, approaching a D.C. police officer on break outside the Juvenile Processing Center at 501 New York Ave. NW.
Mr. Nyang'anyi said he accepted that the fate of the boys is now in the hands of INS officials, but he expressed concern the boys may "not know what they are doing."
"These are minors, they are not independent. They have guardians or parents who are their legal guardians," he said. "Parents are normally concerned when news reports come from Washington that their boys are missing."
"Their scoutmaster wants to take them back. This man was trusted by their parents, who allowed the boys to come here," Mr. Nyang'anyi said.
Tanzania has been politically stable compared with other parts of Africa, having had a two-party democracy since 1992. Three years ago, the country became part of a U.S. government investigation when a bomb rocked the American Embassy in the capital city, Dar es Salaam.
The State Department cited the nation of just more than 35 million people as one of the poorer countries on the African continent. Per-capita annual income was about $260 last year, and the country is beset by AIDS and refugees from neighboring Burundi and Uganda.
Mr. Nyang'anyi said if the four Scouts return to Tanzania, they could have an opportunity to study in the United States later by applying through the proper channels.
"Young kids have dreams and they want to fulfill those dreams," he said. "[The boys] have just chosen a funny means of trying to fulfill them."

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