Deadliest Attack in Uganda in Over 10 Years
Militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) carried out a devastating assault on a middle school in western Uganda, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least 41 individuals, primarily students. This attack stands as the deadliest of its kind in Uganda in over a decade.
Hunt for Allied Democratic Forces Affiliated Attackers
Ugandan officials have launched a manhunt for assailants believed to be affiliated with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia. The attack on Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe resulted in the abduction of six individuals before the perpetrators fled towards the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a harrowing incident late at night, gunmen armed with guns and knives broke into the school, setting fire to dormitories. Witnesses and officers have identified the “Allied Democratic Forces” as responsible for the heinous act. This group is known as one of the deadliest militias in the conflict-ridden eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ADF has been identified as the local affiliate of the Islamic State group in the area.
According to Mpondwe-Lhubiriha mayor Sylvester Mapozi, 39 students lost their lives in the attack. He added, “When the criminals returned, they also killed a man and a woman in the community, bringing the number of victims to 41.”
Upon arrival at the scene, authorities discovered the school building engulfed in flames, with the bodies of students scattered across the campus. A police report, cited by the state news agency and seen by AFP, revealed that the school’s food store had been looted during the incident.
Situated less than 2 kilometers from the Uganda-Democratic Republic of the Congo border, the school is located in an area where the ADF operates extensively. This militia has been accused of brutally targeting civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the 1990s.
Major General Dick Olum shared that intelligence indicated the presence of ADF members at the site at least two days prior to the attack, emphasizing the need for further investigation to determine the details surrounding the incident.
This assault marks the deadliest attack in Uganda since 2010 when Somalia’s Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for twin bomb blasts in the capital, Kampala, resulting in the deaths of 76 people.