According to Ugandan officials, armed rebels assaulted a school in western Uganda, murdering at least 41 people—mostly students—and kidnapping six more.
Military spokesman Felix Kulayigye told that some of the victims died after being killed with machetes, while others perished after having their dormitories set ablaze.
According to Uganda’s military, some 20 members of the rebel organization Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which has ties to ISIS, assaulted the Lhubirira secondary school late on Friday.
Children between the ages of 13 and 18 are educated at the school, which is located in the town of Kasese along Uganda’s border with Congo. Local authorities reported that of the fatalities, 39 were students and two were members of the neighborhood.
By Saturday am, the authorities were still attempting to put out the fire. The military claims there are no survivors trapped within the school but believes more dead bodies may be discovered.
62 persons were present in the school at the time of the attack, according to Kulayigye.
The leadership of the UPDF (Ugandan Peoples’ Defense Forces) is on the scene and has been sent to defend the area, he continued. “We’re commiserating with the families,” he said.
The attack was denounced by the UN. In a statement, it was stated that “those accountable for this heinous act must be brought to justice.”
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the victims and their families and demanded the immediate release of those who had been kidnapped. He also emphasized “the importance of collective efforts to tackle cross-border insecurity between Congo and Uganda and restore durable peace in the area.”
Major Bilal Katamba, the spokesman for Uganda’s military operations in the DRC, told that the military is chasing the suspects in the DRC and thinks they are going for the Virunga National Park.
Before the executions, the rebels had spent two days in the town, where they had been led and shown about by locals, according to Major Dick Olum, commander of the UPDF mission in eastern DRC.
“Everybody should be on the lookout,” he warned residents in Kasese.
“If you see someone you don’t recognize, have him arrested. Please identify the youth that led the ADF here,” he appealed.
J.C. Okechukwu posted a tweet that ISIS-linked rebe group tricks:
What an Amazing Coincidence! Just as the nation of Uganda stands its ground against the sodomites, out of nowhere, ISIS-linked rebel group strikes. Who’s the ISIS-linked rebel group working for or with?
Keep in mind, they’re not addressed as “terrorist group” but rebel group,… pic.twitter.com/u8xA1BGnVl
— J. C. Okechukwu (@jcokechukwu) June 18, 2023
The Mortuary Was “Very Crowded”
Video of the aftermath indicated the school had been completely blocked off, and there were armored military vehicles nearby. On the grounds of the school, sizable crowds were also observed assembling.
On Saturday, representatives of the Ugandan government, including State Minister for Higher Education John Muyingo, paid a visit to the school.
First Lady Janet Museveni made the claim in a statement that was posted on Twitter, adding that the government was “providing support for the bereaved families during this trying time.”
“On behalf of the Ugandan government… I extend heartfelt condolences to the families, students, staff of Lhubiliriha Secondary School and the broader community affected by this tragedy,” she said.
“We call upon everyone to offer prayers for the affected families and community while also urging vigilance to uphold the safety of our children in schools.”
“I remain confident that the UPDF, with divine guidance, will ensure those responsible face justice,” she added.
According to a witness who lost three cousins in the savage attack, the nearby mortuary is “very crowded” as medical care is still being provided for those who have been pulled from the school.
When I heard about the tragedy, I knew my family members were at school, so we raced to the hospital as soon as possible and discovered their dead there; the mortuary was jam-packed, according to Clay Biromunane.
Biromunane heard gunfire at about 10:40 p.m. local time as he was in his bedroom about 300 meters from the school.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Armed rebels attacked a school in western Uganda, killing at least 41 people, mostly students, and abducting six others.https://t.co/bVCAbZXN8Q
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 18, 2023
People are currently searching high and low for their family, according to Biromunane.
The 35-year-old claimed that the incident “very much surprised” the neighborhood and that nothing like had ever happened there.
The mayor of Mpondwe, Mapoze Slevest, voiced similar surprise to reporters, stating that Mpondwe “was a good community with no rebels.”
The ADF was established in the middle of the 1990s and has its headquarters in the rugged frontier between Uganda and the DRC.
The American Defense Forces (ADF) were criticized by the US Department of Treasury “for targeting children in situations of armed conflict, including through killing, rape, abduction and forced displacement.”
At least 12 congregants were killed in the DRC during a church service in January, according to allegations made against the ADF.
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