Uganda : School ruthless massacre victims buried by their families

Five militants attacked the Lhubiriha secondary school in Mpondwe in Uganda at around 23:30 (20:30 GMT) on Friday. They entered dormitories, setting fire and using machetes to kill and maim the pupils, officials said. The attack is blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, which rarely claims responsibility for attacks. It has established ties with the Islamic State group.

The ADF has been accused of launching many attacks in recent years targeting civilians in remote parts of eastern Congo, including one in March in which 19 people were killed. The ADF has long opposed the rule of Museveni, a U.S. security ally who has held power in this East African country since 1986.


Nearly 40 pupils have been killed at a school in western Uganda by rebels linked to the Islamic State group (IS). A bereaved Ugandan border town on Sunday began burying the victims of a brutal attack on a school by suspected extremist rebels that left 42 people dead, most of them students, as security forces stepped up patrols along the frontier with volatile eastern Congo.

One of eight people wounded in Friday night’s attack, in which 38 students were killed, died overnight, said Selevest Mapoze, mayor of the town of Mpondwe-Lhubiriha. “Most of the relatives have come to take their bodies” from the morgue, he said.

Uganda security forces are seen standing at the premises of the school, where the attack took place, Uganda, on June 17, 2023 at the Mpondwe Lhubiriha Secondary School.

The atmosphere in Mpondwe-Lhubiriha was tense but calm Sunday as Ugandan security forces roamed the streets outside and near the school, which was protected by a police cordon.

More than 60 people were enrolled at the school, most of whom live there. Uganda’s information minister said 38 people were confirmed to have been killed, but did not give their ages. In addition to the 38 people, the victims include a school guard and three civilians. At least two of them, members of the same family, were buried Sunday.

Some students were burned beyond recognition; others were shot or hanged to death after militants armed with guns and machetes attacked Lhubiriha Secondary School, co-ed and privately owned, which is located about 2 kilometers which is just over a mile from the Congo border. Ugandan authorities believe at least six students were abducted.

Uganda Rebels, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)

Uganda rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces
Uganda rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces

The ADF is a ‘nexus’ criminal outfit that is both a terrorist and a transnational organized crime group. The group was established in the early 1990s by some Ugandan Muslims, who said they had been sidelined by Museveni’s policies. At the time, the rebels staged deadly attacks in Ugandan villages as well as in the capital, including a 1998 attack in which 80 students were massacred in a town not far from Friday’s raid.

The attack followed the same playbook: violence against students. The attackers targeted two dormitories, using extreme force when the boys resisted, according to Ugandan officials. “This terrorist group couldn’t enter, so they threw in a bomb, they threw in a petrol bomb,” said Education Minister Janet Museveni, who also is Uganda’s first lady. “So, these children were burnt.”

Students have been attacked because schools are considered soft targets. Pupils are sometimes recruited into rebels ranks or used to carry food and supplies for insurgents, and such raids provide media coverage coveted by extremists.

Many parts of eastern Congo are lawless, allowing groups like the ADF to operate because the central government in Kinshasa, the capital, has limited authority there.



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