At least 41 killed in an attack on a school

At least 41 killed in an attack on a school

Ugandan authorities have recovered the bodies of 41 people, including 38 students, following a suspected rebel attack on a school near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the mayor said on Saturday.

The victims included students, a guard and two community members who were killed outside the centre, Mpondwe Lubiriha council member Sylveste Mabuse told The Associated Press. In a raid on Friday night, the rebels also kidnapped an unknown number of people before fleeing across the porous border into Congo.

Mabuzi added that some students suffered fatal burns when the rebels set fire to their residence, while others were shot or hacked with machetes.

Attacks for years

Police said ADF rebels, who have been launching attacks from their bases in the neighboring country's restive eastern region for years, carried out the attack on Lubiriha Secondary School in the border town.

The school, a private co-education centre, is located in Uganda's Kasese district, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the border.

“A bedroom was set on fire and a food warehouse was looted. So far, 25 bodies have been recovered from the school and taken to Bwera Hospital,” police said in a statement. He added that eight other people were in critical condition.

According to the authorities, government forces pursued the attackers to Virunga National Park in Congolese territory. The army confirmed in a statement that Ugandan soldiers in Congo are “pursuing the enemy to rescue the kidnapped people.”

Some victims were “burned beyond recognition,” Joe Walusimbi, an official representing President Yoweri Museveni, told The Associated Press by phone in Kasese.

Winnie Kyiza, an influential political leader, condemned the “cowardly attack” on Twitter. “Attacks on schools are unacceptable and constitute a serious violation of children’s rights,” he noted, adding that educational centers must always be “a safe place for all students.”

The ADF has been accused of launching numerous attacks against civilians in recent years in remote areas of eastern Congo. The group opposes the government of Museveni, a security ally of the United States, which has been in power since 1986.

The militia was created in the early 1990s by some Ugandan Muslims who said they had been marginalized by Museveni's policies. At the time, insurgents were carrying out deadly attacks in towns across the country and in the capital, Kampala, including a 1998 massacre that killed 80 students in a village not far from the scene of the latest incident.

An army operation later led to the ADF fleeing into eastern DRC, where several rebel groups operate due to the Congolese government's limited control over the region.

Since then, he has established ties with the extremist group Islamic State.

In March, an alleged FDF attack killed 19 people in Congo.

Ugandan authorities have promised for years to arrest rebel group fighters inside and outside its borders. In 2021, Uganda launched joint air and artillery strikes in the neighboring country against the militia.

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