School attack in Uganda: 25 killed by Islamic State-linked militants

  • By Patience Aduhire in Kampala and James Gregory in London
  • BBC News

At least 25 people have been killed by Islamic State-linked insurgents at a school in western Uganda.

Eight others remain in critical condition after the attack at Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe.

Police say the Allied Democratic Forces (ATF), a Ugandan group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), carried out the attack on Friday.

Police added that soldiers are pursuing the fleeing group towards Virunga National Park in the DRC.

“So far 25 bodies have been recovered from the school and transferred to Puera Hospital,” National Police spokesman Fred Enanga said in a statement on Saturday.

He added that during the attack on Friday night, a hostel in the school was burnt down and a food stall was looted.

It is also believed that the attackers may have detonated bombs in the area.

The death toll may be as high as 40, and the dead may include members of the wider community.

Dozens of people are feared to have been abducted and many students are still unaccounted for.

The attackers fled towards Virunga National Park – Africa’s oldest and largest national park which is home to rare species including mountain gorillas.

Militants, including the ADF, also use the vast stretch of land along the Ugandan-Rwanda border as a hideout.

Uganda and the DRC have launched joint military operations in eastern Congo to deter attacks by the ADF.

In June 1998, an ADF attack on the Kichwamba Institute of Technology near the DRC border left 80 students burned to death in their dormitories. More than 100 students were kidnapped.

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

After being defeated by the Ugandan army in 2001, it relocated to North Kivu province in the DRC.

The group’s principal founder, Jamil Makulu, was arrested in Tanzania in 2015 and placed in the custody of the International Criminal Court.

ADF rebels have been operating from within the DRC for the past two decades.

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