Crime

UPDATE: Death toll in Kasese school attack by ADF rebels raises to 41

“The lifeless bodies of students were found in the school compound, and the victims were viciously hacked to death with machetes.”

KASESE, UGANDA: The number of students killed in a terror attack by gunmen suspected of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Kasese has risen to 41 fatalities, fresh reports suggest.

Police had earlier said in a Saturday morning statement that 25 students of Mpondwe Lhubiriha Secondary School (formerly Peter Hunter SS) had been hacked by the ADF rebels with several others abducted by the gunmen in a Friday night attack on the privately owned school.

The heartbreaking incident happened at around 11pm on Friday when the militants raided the mixed day and boarding school in Lhubirhiha town council in Kasese near the Uganda-DRC border.

Enanga early today said; “Last night, we registered a terrorist attack by the ADF rebels, on Lubiriha secondary school, in Mpondwe, which is located about 2kms, from the DRC border. A dormitory was burnt and a food store was looted. So far 25 bodies have been recovered from the school and transferred to Bwera Hospital,” said Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson in a Saturday statement.

“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,” he added.

However, the latest information available to DailyExpress indicated that in the attack, 22 students were hacked to death, while 17 died in a bomb blast which rebels left behind.

It is further reported that the suspected ADF fighters attacked the school as early as 10 pm as the students were sleeping in their dormitory before hacking several of them.

The rebels also burned down a school van and further looted food (posho and beans) and other items and later abducted an unknown number of students before crossing back into the DRC.

The ADF has for long been blamed for detonating bombs in different parts of Uganda in acts of terrorism.

The Friday, June 17 incident invokes memories of the June 1998 attack when gunmen suspected of the ADF raided Kichwamba Technical Institute and killed over 80 students, left others injured and several abducted.

It remains to be seen if the ADF’s motivation for Friday night’s incursion was to show they are still active and to carry out reprisal attacks on civilians.

President Museveni recently said the ADF had been weakened by relentless attacks by the UPDF and pushed far away from the porous Uganda-DRC border.

By Saturday morning, police and military were deployed counterterrorism and specialised combat forces at the school as a hunt for the ADF killer intensifies.

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