Officials have reported that a vicious attack by rebel extremists on a school near the Uganda-Congo border has resulted in the tragic loss of at least 41 lives.
According to the mayor of Mpondwe, Uganda, authorities made a distressing discovery on Saturday morning. The bodies of 41 individuals, including 38 students, were recovered following a brutal attack on Lhubiriha Secondary School.
The victims were tragically killed by means of burning, shooting or hacking. According to the Associated Press, the Ugandan military has reported that at least six additional individuals were abducted during the attack and are suspected to have been taken across the border into Congo.
The authorities have identified the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) as the perpetrators of the attack. The ADF is an Islamist extremist group with connections to ISIS and is known for carrying out terrorist activities in the region. They operate from bases located in the volatile Congo and have been involved in launching numerous attacks in the area.
According to Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Mayor Selevest Mapoze, the victims of the attack included the students, as well as one guard and two members of the local community who were tragically killed outside the school.
Mapoze said that some of the students suffered fatal burns when the rebels set fire to a dormitory, and others were shot or hacked with machetes.
About five attackers carried out the raid, which happened around 11:30 Friday night, according to the Ugandan military. Soldiers from a nearby brigade were dispatched to the scene.
Military spokesman Brig. Felix Kulayigye made a statement saying, “On arrival, the school was found burning with dead bodies of students lying in the compound with the school food store broken into, posho and beans taken.”
A survivor heard girls crying "Jesus! Jesus!" as they were hacked during a school attack in Uganda. The boys were burnt beyond recognition in a petrol bomb.
"Mtusamehe, makosa imetokea kuwa watoto wetu wamekufa," a UPDF commander apologized. Residents & leaders are outraged pic.twitter.com/k85WXkeM3z
— Larry Madowo (@LarryMadowo) June 18, 2023
According to the statement, a total of 37 bodies were recovered from the scene and subsequently transferred to a local mortuary. Additionally, eight survivors were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. The military confirmed that three individuals were successfully rescued alive, but unfortunately, six others were abducted during the incident.
Lhubiriha Secondary School is a privately-owned co-educational institution situated in the district of Kasese in Uganda. The school is located approximately 1.2 miles away from the border with Congo.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) has been implicated in a series of recent mass killings occurring in both Uganda and Congo.