OAN’s Roy Francis
8:34 AM – Saturday, June 17, 2023
A local mayor confirmed that authorities recovered the bodies of 41 individuals, including 38 students, who had been killed after suspected rebels attacked a secondary school near the border with Congo on Friday night.
The Ugandan military stated that the victims of the attack had been burned, shot or hacked to death, and six others had been kidnapped by the rebel group that had fled back into Congo.
According to The Associated Press, the victims included the students of the Lhubirira secondary school, one guard, and two members of the community, that had been killed outside of the school.
The Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Mayor, Selevest Mapoze, said that some of the students had suffered fatal burns during the attack as the attackers had set fire to a dormitory, and the other victims had been shot or hacked with machetes. An official representing Uganda’s president told The Associated Press that some of the students had been “burnt beyond recognition.”
The military confirmed that the raid involved around five attackers, and that they had set out in pursuit of the perpetrators in order “to rescue the abducted students.”
Authorities blamed the massacre that took place in the border town of Mpondwe, located a little over a mile from the border, on the Allied Democratic Forces, an extremist group that has known ties to the Islamic State. The group had been launching attacks from Congo for years.
The ADF has long resisted the rule of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power of the East African country since 1986. They have also been accused of launching attacks in recent years that targeted civilians in eastern Congo.
The group had been formed in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who accused Museveni of sidelining them with his policies. The rebels had staged several attacks in Ugandan villages after their formation, including the massacre in 1998 that had left 80 students dead.
The ADF were then forced across the border into Congo by the Ugandan military and had since formed ties with the Islamic State Group.
Ugandan officials had promised to track down ADF members, even those outside of their territory. In 2021, Uganda had launched a joint air and artillery strikes into eastern Congo targeting the group.
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