Uganda: Waiting anxiously for news on the 41 victims of the Uganda school attack
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
On June 18, 2023, relatives of Mpondwe Lhubiriha Secondary School victims gathered at the Bwera General Hospital Mortuary in Kasese. – After a militant attack that killed dozens of students and left others missing, distraught families gathered at a mortuary in western Uganda on Sunday to find out what had happened to their loved ones. At least 41 people, mostly students, were killed late Friday by Islamic State-affiliated militants at a secondary school near the Democratic Republic of the Congo border.
Troubled families accumulated at a morgue in western Uganda on Sunday for any insight about their friends and family after an aggressor assault left many understudies dead and others missing.
At least 41 people, mostly students, were killed late Friday by Islamic State-affiliated militants at a secondary school near the Democratic Republic of the Congo border.
At Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe, victims were hacked, shot, and burned to death in a brutal attack that shocked Uganda and drew condemnation from around the world.
The Allied Democratic Front (ADF), a DR Congo-based militia, has been blamed by the army and police for escaping back to the border with six abductees still in captivity following the attack.
The military claimed to be on the lookout for the attackers and that it would free the kidnapped.
When the attackers set a locked dormitory on fire, many of the victims were so badly burned that they couldn’t be identified. This made it difficult to find the missing and identify the dead.
Families wept as the bodies of their loved ones were placed in coffins and taken away for burial at a mortuary in Bwera, a nearby town.
However, there was no news of missing relatives for many others. A lot of the people who died in the fire were moved to Fort Portal, where DNA testing can be done.
It is the deadliest militant attack in Uganda since the twin bombings in Kampala in 2010 by the Somali-based Al-Shabaab group that killed 76 people.
“They will pay,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The United States, a close ally of Uganda, and the African Union also expressed sympathy and condemned the killings.
Janet Museveni, Uganda’s first lady and education minister, stated that the dormitory where 17 male students were burned and 20 female students were hacked to death.
Officials reported that three people in the public as well as a security guard were killed.
Museveni stated on Saturday that the army would locate “these evil people and they will pay for what they have done.”
However, it has been questioned how the attackers were able to avoid detection in a border region dominated by military forces.
According to Major General Dick Olum, who spoke with the AFP, intelligence had indicated the ADF’s presence in the area at least two days prior to the attack, and an investigation would be required to determine what went wrong.
Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) launched a joint offensive in 2021 to drive the ADF out of their strongholds in Congo, but the measures have not stopped the group from being violent.
An ADF attack on Uganda’s Kichwamba Technical Institute near the border with DR Congo in June 1998 resulted in the deaths of 80 students who were burned to death in their dorms.
More than one hundred students were kidnapped.