Columbine student flees to Canada, seeks asylum

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By The Staff

A 17-year-old Columbine High School exchange student who did not return from a trip to Washington, D.C., over the weekend reportedly has joined a group of students seeking asylum in Canada.

The student was a junior at Columbine through the American Councils program, headquartered in Washington, and was on a trip sponsored by American Councils. It was not a Columbine High School-sponsored field triop, said a statement provided by Jefferson County Schools.

The student, Mesbah Habibi, is from Afghanistan, and was expected to return to Colorado to finish the school year.

“On Tuesday we received a communication from Mesbah telling us he was safe and thanking us for our hospitality over the past eight months,” his American family said in a statement released Thursday.

Habibi had been living with his host family since August. He participated in track and was a member of the newspaper staff and Unity in Action Club.

The State Department told the school district five other Afghani students from Habibi’s program went missing in the last week. The State Department is investigating. The sponsoring group in Washington could not be reached for comment.