25 students have been confirmed dead in a night attack by suspected Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebels at Lhubirira secondary school, in Mpondwe, that is located about 2 kms, from the Uganda-DRC border in Kasese District
Another 8 students have been rushed to Bwera Hospital in critical condition after a school dormitory was burnt, Uganda Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said on Saturday morning.
Police confirmed the Lubiriha Secondary School attack and deaths that happened at around 11pm on Friday, fearing the number could be higher as their operation was still ongoing.
“Last night, we registered a terrorist attack by the ADF rebels, on Lhubirira secondary school, in Mpondwe, that is located about 2 kms, from the DRC border. A dormitory was burnt and a food store looted. So far 25 bodies have been recovered from the school and transferred to Bwera Hospital. Also recovered are 8 victims, who remain in critical condition at Bwera Hospital. A hot pursuit by the UPDF and the police is ongoing, towards Virunga national park,” Mr. Enanga said in a statement.
The United States embassy in Uganda last week issued an emergency warning to its nationals saying a terrorist attack could take place, a warniny Ugandan authorities dismissed.
In November 2021, Ugandan and Congolese troops launched a joint offensive against the ADF but more than a year later, the operation’s effectiveness remains unclear.
Early this week, the security in the area warned residents of terror threats in the area.
This is not the first time gunmen have attacked schools in the area. On June 8, 1998, ADF rebels attacked Kichwamba Technical Institute where they killed 80 students, left others injured and several abducted.
Security agencies in the Rwenzori Sub-region were said to be high alert early this week after the DR Congo- based ADF rebel group renewed attacks close to the Ugandan border. Last Sunday night, ADF rebels attacked Domena Village in Kasindi, which is a few kilometres from Uganda’s border town of Mpondwe, killing several people.
At least 133 Congolese, including women and children, were forced to flee into Uganda and camped at Kabuyiri Catholic Church. However, most of them later returned to their country after the situation normalised, while others stayed with their relatives on the Ugandan side of the border.
The rebels are said to have resumed attacks in areas which had been pacified by UPDF and DRC forces under a joint military operation code-named Operation Shujaa.
The ADF, the deadliest militia in eastern DRC, was historically a Ugandan rebel coalition whose biggest group comprised Muslims opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who ascended to power in 1986 following a five-year guerilla warfare.