Uganda School Attack: Pupils Among 40 Killed By Militants Linked To Islamic State Group

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No fewer than 40 people, mostly pupils, have been killed at a school in western Uganda by rebels linked to the Islamic State group.

Sources said another eight people remain in a critical condition after the attack on Lhubiriha secondary school in Mpondwe.

Boys who were staying in dormitories at the school are among the dead.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been blamed for Friday’s attack.

Many of the bodies were transferred to Bwera Hospital, national police spokesperson Fred Enanga said.

The attack happened at around 23:30 local time (20:30 GMT) on Friday at the school in the Kasese district in western Uganda.

Over 60 people are educated at the school, most of whom live there.

As the ADF rebels burnt a dormitory, a food store was also looted during the incident, Mr Enanga said.

Some of the boys were burnt or hacked to death, Major General Dick Olum from the Ugandan army told the media.

Others at the school, mostly girls, have been abducted by the group, he added.

The ages of the victims are not known.

Some of the bodies are said to have been badly burnt and DNA tests will need to be carried out to identify them.

The attackers are said to have torched the students’ mattresses and are also thought to have detonated bombs in the region.

Members of the wider community are possibly among the dead. A number of students remain unaccounted for and the exact number of those who died is still unclear.

Soldiers are pursuing ADF insurgents towards the DRC’s Virunga national park – Africa’s oldest and largest national park which is home to rare species, including mountain gorillas.

Militias including the ADF also use the vast expanse, which borders Uganda and Rwanda, as a hideout.

“Our forces are pursuing the enemy to rescue those abducted and destroy this group,” defence spokesperson Felix Kulayigye said on Twitter.

The Ugandan army has also deployed helicopters to help track the rebel group over mountainous terrain.

Security forces had intelligence that rebels were in the border area on the DRC side for at least two days before Friday night’s attack, Major General Olum said.

The deadly episode follows last week’s attack by suspected ADF fighters in a village in the DRC near to the Ugandan border. Over 100 villagers fled to Uganda but have since returned.

The attack on the school, located less than two kilometres (1.25 miles) from the DRC border, is the first such attack on a Ugandan school in 25 years.

In June 1998, 80 students were burnt to death in their dormitories in an ADF attack on Kichwamba Technical Institute near the border of DRC. More than 100 students were abducted.

The ADF was created in eastern Uganda in the 1990s and took up arms against long-serving President, Yoweri Museveni, alleging government persecution of Muslims.

Muslims make up almost 14% of the Ugandan population, according to official government figures, though the Ugandan Muslim Supreme Council estimates the figure is closer to 35%.

Some members of the Ugandan Muslim community say they face discrimination in public life, including in education and the workplace.

After defeat by the Ugandan army in 2001, the ADF relocated to North Kivu province in the DRC.

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