Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers patrol against ADF rebels Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers patrol against ADF rebels  

42 students confirmed dead in terrorist attack in western Uganda

Over forty students are confirmed dead following a gruesome attack by ADF rebels on a school near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. An unknown number of students has been abducted.

By Linda Bordoni

Dozens of students were killed and at least six others abducted following an attack at a school in western Uganda by armed rebels from the Allied Democratic Force, a group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS – so-called Islamic State militants.

According to the Ugandan Police Force, the attack took place at Lhubirira secondary school, in Mpondwe in the west of the country on Friday evening.

Major Bilal Katamba, the spokesperson for Uganda’s military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said about 20 to 25 rebels attacked the school in Mpondwe between 11 p.m. and midnight, killing at least 26 students and injuring eight before lighting the school on fire. The latest reports estimate about 40 dead.

The eight injured students are reportedly in critical condition at Bwera Hospital. Authorities were reportedly still trying to extinguish the fire on Saturday morning.

It is feared more dead bodies may be found, but a police spokesman said there was no one still alive trapped in the building.

Lhubirira secondary school is situated along Uganda’s border with Congo, and the military is reportedly pursuing the suspects in the DRC’s Virunga National Park territory.

The spokesperson said that Ugandan Police and the Uganda People’s Defense Force were in “hot pursuit” of the suspects.

Who are the rebels

The ADF is an insurgent group founded in Uganda in 1995 as an armed Islamist group. A crackdown some 20 years ago forced the fighters to flee across the border into the mountainous forests of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to researchers tracking the group it has since grown increasingly deadly after receiving money from the Islamic State.

In the past year, the ADF has blown up churchgoers, directed deadly suicide bombings, organized a jailbreak that freed hundreds of prisoners and beheaded and burned villagers alive. In March alone, the group reportedly killed 150 people.

In 2021, the ADF was accused of orchestrating deadly bombings in the Ugandan capital of Kampala that killed six people. Uganda sent troops into eastern Congo, where they remain battling the insurgent group. (Source Reuters and others)

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17 June 2023, 10:54