In a tragic incident at Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe, western Uganda, a devastating attack by rebels associated with the Islamic State group has resulted in the loss of over 40 lives, predominantly students. The assault, attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), occurred late on Friday. Leaving eight individuals in critical condition.
The victims include boys who were residing in the school’s dormitories. The ADF rebels set fire to one of the dormitories and looted a food store during the rampage, as reported by Fred Enanga, the national police spokesperson. The attackers resorted to brutal means, using both fire and weapons to inflict harm. Major General Dick Olum of the Ugandan army revealed that some of the boys were burned or hacked to death. While others, primarily girls, were abducted by the assailants.
Identifying the Victims: DNA Testing Required Due to Severe Condition of Remains
Following the assault, numerous bodies were transferred to Bwera Hospital. And it is anticipated that DNA testing will be necessary for proper identification due to the severe condition of some remains. It has been reported that the rebels also ignited the students’ mattresses and potentially detonated bombs in the vicinity.
The incident has left the community in shock and anguish, with several students still unaccounted for. This school in Uganda accommodates around 60 individuals. Serves as both an educational institution and a residence for many of its attendees. This reprehensible act of violence not only claimed the lives of innocent students but also jeopardized the safety and well-being of the wider community.
In response to the attack, the Ugandan army has initiated a pursuit of the ADF insurgents towards Virunga National Park in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. This pursuit aims to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent further harm. However, this operation raises concerns for the park’s unique biodiversity. Including its population of endangered mountain gorillas, as it is Africa‘s oldest and largest national park.
The Ugandan government, along with local and international authorities. It will undoubtedly intensify efforts to investigate the incident and provide support to the affected families. And ensure the security of educational institutions in the region. This appalling act of violence serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing threat posed by extremist groups. The imperative to prioritize the safety and protection of vulnerable populations. Especially students who should be able to pursue their education in a secure environment.