Ugandan authorities said they found the bodies of at least 41 people, 38 of them students, at a school in the west of the country, after extremists set fire to a dormitory and attacked the victims with weapons. At least six people were kidnapped and another eight were hospitalized. The Police point out that the attack was perpetrated by members of the Allied Democratic Forces (FAD), linked to the self-styled Islamic State.
At least 41 people brutally murdered. On Friday night, jihadist fighters attacked a school in western Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and set fire to a dormitory. The incident was reported by the government official in charge of the district where the events occurred.
The mayor of the city, quoted by the AP agency, said that 38 of the fatalities were students. A local security guard and two members of the local community also died, who were murdered outside the educational center.
The authorities indicated that some of the deceased suffered burns, while others were shot and attacked with bladed weapons.
The Ugandan police spokesman confirmed that the attack was carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist militia that has pledged allegiance to the self-styled Islamic State (IS), and is based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Ugandan army and police also said they were chasing the attackers, who fled to the Virunga National Park across the border in the DRC.
One of the deadliest attacks in the region
It is one of the worst attacks perpetrated in the country in years. But this massacre is not the first of its kind. In June 1998, Allied Democratic Forces attacked the Kichwamba Technical Institute in Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. So, 80 students were burned alive in their dormitories and more than 100 were kidnapped.
In 2021, Uganda and its neighboring country launched a joint offensive to expel the ADF from their strongholds, but these operations have so far failed to put an end to the atrocities committed by the armed group, which has established itself as the most violent in the region.
Kidnappings, assassinations, destruction of property are among the atrocities in which the ADF has committed. They are implicated in more than a thousand abuses listed since 2017 by the Kivu Security Barometer and, according to the same source, have killed more than 3,300 people. In addition, the authorities accuse them of jihadist attacks on Ugandan soil.
These armed militias are made up of mostly Muslim Ugandan rebels opposed to the regime of President Yoweri Museveni, active in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since the mid-1990s.
In 2019, the ADF announced its affiliation with the self-styled Islamic State, which has since presented them as its branch in Central Africa. Today, their ideology and the number of their fighters vary by observers, but the frequency of their attacks continues to increase.
In early March, the United States announced that it was offering a reward of up to $5 million for any information leading to the leader of the group, a Ugandan in his forties identified as Musa Baluku.
With AFP and local media