In a horrific attack perpetrated by rebels at a Ugandan school, at least 41 individuals, including 38 students, lost their lives, according to the local mayor’s office. Post the assault, which took place in the evening of Friday, June 16th, the assailants are believed to have kidnapped six people before escaping across the border into Congo.
The Ugandan military is attributing the atrocity at Lhubiriha Secondary School, situated in the border town of Mpondwe, to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an elusive extremist faction linked to the Islamic State. Operating out of the unstable eastern Congo region, this group has been responsible for numerous attacks over several years.
The victims comprised the students, a guard, and two community members, who were murdered outside the school premises, as disclosed by Selevest Mapoze, Mpondwe-Lhubiriha’s Mayor.
According to a military spokesperson, some individuals were brutally killed using machetes, while others lost their lives as their dormitories were set ablaze.
While the military suspects more dead bodies may be discovered, they have confirmed that no remaining survivors are trapped within the school premises.
The Ugandan military reported that approximately twenty assailants were involved in the raid at approximately 11:30 p.m., leaving the school in flames and corpses scattered within the compound.
Ugandan forces are pursuing assailants to rescue the kidnapped students, who were forced to carry stolen food toward Congo’s Virunga National Park.
The private co-educational institution is situated in the Kasese district of Uganda, approximately 2 kilometers from the Congo border.
According to Uganda’s president’s office, some victims were so severely burned that they were unidentifiable.
In the aftermath of the brutal attack, distraught parents and concerned family members hastened to the hospital, desperate to locate and reassure their beloved ones. Reports suggest that the local mortuary is currently facing a substantial surge in victims while medical teams continue their efforts to treat those affected.
Established in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who felt marginalized by President Yoweri Museveni’s policies, the ADF has been a long-time adversary of Museveni’s rule. After a Ugandan military offensive pushed the ADF into eastern Congo, the group formed links with the Islamic State.
Notably, in March, 19 people were killed in Congo, allegedly by ADF extremists. Ugandan authorities, who have been committing to track down ADF militants even outside Ugandan territory, carried out joint air and artillery strikes against the group in Congo in 2021.