July 22, 2024
Home » Deadly militant attack at Ugandan school claims 41 lives

Deadly militant attack at Ugandan school claims 41 lives


Officials have confirmed 41 casualties as militants linked to Islamic State attacked Ugandan school

In a devastating assault on a school in western Uganda, militants associated with the Islamic State group ruthlessly killed at least 41 individuals, the majority of whom were students.

This tragic incident marks the deadliest attack in the country in over ten years, according to officials who made the announcement on Saturday.

The military has revealed that they are actively pursuing the attackers, who belong to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The assailants raided the school late Friday, abducting six people before escaping back towards the Democratic Republic of Congo. Witnesses and authorities reported that the attackers employed guns and knives during a gruesome assault that occurred late at night, leaving dormitories in flames at Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe.

Both the police and army officials have attributed the attack to the ADF, one of the deadliest militias based in the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Islamic State group has recognized the ADF as its local branch.

Sylvester Mapozi, the mayor of Mpondwe-Lhubiriha, where the attack took place, stated that 39 students were killed at the school.

He added, “As the attackers were leaving the community, they also murdered two individuals, a male and a female, bringing the total number of victims to 41.”

Numerous victims were burned beyond recognition, and some students remain unaccounted for, according to his account.

A survivor, Mumbere Edgar Dido, aged 16, recounted the attackers’ arrival at his dormitory armed with machetes and guns.

They commenced firing from outside, prompting everyone to take cover under their beds.

“They continued to shoot through the windows, then set fire to our room while we were inside, before going to the girls’ dormitory,” he explained.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed strong condemnation of the attack and conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, as stated by his spokesperson on Saturday.

“Those responsible for this heinous act must be held accountable,” emphasized Guterres’ spokesperson Farhan Haq in a statement.

Molly Phee, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, expressed condolences to the affected families and condemned the attack on schoolchildren, describing it as “appalling”

in a tweet. France also condemned the assault in the strongest possible terms, according to a spokeswoman from the foreign ministry in Paris.

The Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) spokesperson, Felix Kulayigye, informed that the six individuals kidnapped were taken towards Virunga National Park, an extensive area that straddles the border.

He stated, “The UPDF has launched an operation to rescue the abducted students and pursue the perpetrators.”

The ages of the victims and the exact number of students affected have not been disclosed by the police. Outside the school, heavily armed soldiers and police stood guard while a large crowd gathered, and surviving students received support from their loved ones.

This incident marks the deadliest attack in Uganda since 2010 when twin bombings in Kampala, claimed by the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab group, resulted in the deaths of 76 individuals.

According to a police report seen by AFP, police and military units were alerted to a significant attack at the school around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) on Friday evening. Upon arrival, they discovered the school engulfed in flames and found the lifeless bodies of students in the compound, with signs of a break-in and missing items from the school’s food store.

The school is situated less than two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the ADF primarily operates.

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