Dozens of Students Killed in Rebel Attack on High School

Ugandan authorities recover more than 40 bodies, mostly kids, after suspected rebels invade
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2023 10:45 AM CDT
Dozens of Students Killed in Rebel Attack on High School
People pass along the road leading to the Mpondwe border crossing with Congo, in western Uganda on June 14, 2019. Ugandan authorities recovered the bodies of dozens of people including students, following an attack by suspected rebels on the Lhubiriha Secondary School, near the Mpondwe border crossing...   (AP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi, File)

Ugandan authorities recovered the bodies of 41 people, including 38 students, who were burned, shot, or hacked to death after suspected rebels attacked a secondary school near the border with Congo, the local mayor said Saturday. At least six people were abducted by the rebels, who fled across the porous border into the Democratic Republic of Congo after the raid on Friday night, according to the Ugandan military. The victims included the students, one guard, and two members of the local community who were killed outside the school, Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Mayor Selevest Mapoze told the AP. Mapoze said that some of the students suffered fatal burns when the rebels set fire to a dormitory, while others were shot or hacked with machetes.

The raid, which happened around 11:30pm, involved about five attackers, the Ugandan military said. Soldiers from a nearby brigade who responded to the attack found the school on fire, "with dead bodies of students lying in the compound," a military spokesman said in a statement. That statement cited 47 bodies, with eight other people wounded and being treated at a local hospital. Ugandan troops are "pursuing the perpetrators to rescue the abducted students" who were forced to carry looted food toward Congo's Virunga National Park, it said. Ugandan authorities said the Allied Democratic Forces, an extremist group that has been launching attacks for years from its bases in volatile eastern Congo, carried out the raid on Lhubiriha Secondary School in the border town of Mpondwe.

The school, co-ed and privately owned, is located in the Ugandan district of Kasese, about 2 kilometers from the Congo border. An official representing Uganda's president in Kasese said that some of the victims "were burnt beyond recognition." Winnie Kiiza, an influential political leader and a former lawmaker from the region, condemned the "cowardly attack" on Twitter. The ADF has been accused of launching many attacks in recent years targeting civilians in remote parts of eastern Congo. The shadowy group, established in the early 1990s by some Ugandan Muslims, rarely claims responsibility for attacks. The ADF has long opposed the rule of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a US security ally who has held power in this East African country since 1986. The group has since established ties with the Islamic State group.

(Read more Uganda stories.)

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