Locals and military gathering at Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School

It’s exactly a month since the suspected ADF rebels attacked Mpondwe Lhubiriha Secondary School in Kasese district. 44 lives were lost- 38 of whom were school going children.

According to the community which neighbors the school,  the incidence still looks fresh to them because up to now they cannot imagine a rebel group killing dozens of people above all children who are not armed. The fate of three students who were abducted by the suspected rebels is not yet known.

The community’s prayer is that these abducted children do not suffer the fate of their colleagues. A one Biira who was among the abducted students, was found dead and partially buried by the same suspected rebel group in the Virunga National Park in the DR. Congo nearly two weeks after the attack. Biira’s remains were handed over to her parents on the 5th July 2023 after a successful DNA test.

Locals gathering at Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School after suspected ADF rebel attack on the school

Twenty one of the thirty eight children killed were female and the rest males. On June 27, the government of Uganda handed over 11 corpses to their families after DNA test in what was also regarded as somber moods. Until now there are no  reports known or reasons why ADF rebels targeted such institution of unarmed citizens.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

The government of Uganda has blamed the attack on the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) an Islamist rebel group that that has been active in the region since 1996.

This was not ADF’s first attack on a school in Uganda. In June 1998, 80 students were burned to death in their dormitories in an ADF attack on Kichwamba Technical Institute in the district oof Kabarole within the Rwenzori region and more than 100 students were abducted.

Earlier before that in 1997, the ADF rebels attacked St. John the Evangelist Minor Seminary-Kiburara in the Diocese of Kasese, where nineteen students and two members of the non-teaching staff were kidnapped. Of the 21 abductees, only eleven returned home.

A week before the June 2023 Friday’s attack, suspected ADF fighters carried out an attack in the popular Domene village in the DR Congo, “forcing dozens to cross to Uganda for refuge at the Catholic Shrine in Kabuyiri in the Diocese of Kasese,

The DR.Congo’s Catholic Church says the ADF has killed thousands of civilians since 2013 while a respected monitor, the Kivu Security Tracker, blames the group for more than 1,200 deaths in North Kivu’s Beni area alone since 2017.

The Ugandan authorities recently accused the ADF or a local group affiliated with it of carrying out or planning attacks.