Ugandan forces are attempting to find rebels accused of killing not less than 41 civilians, principally college students, within the worst assault within the nation in additional than a decade.
Authorities have blamed Friday’s assault in Mpondwe city, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a insurgent group that has pledged allegiance to ISIL (ISIS).
In his first remarks for the reason that assault, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni promised to hunt the assailants “into extinction”.
“Their motion – the determined, cowardly, terrorist motion – is not going to save them,” Museveni stated in an announcement, vowing to deploy extra troops on the Ugandan facet of the border.
Pope Francis supplied a prayer on Sunday for “the younger scholar victims of the brutal assault” that has shocked Uganda and drawn worldwide condemnation.
United Nations Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres known as it “an appalling act”, whereas the US, a detailed ally of Uganda, and the African Union additionally condemned the bloodshed.
Here’s what we all know to this point in regards to the worst assault in Uganda since 2010, when 76 folks have been killed in twin bombings within the capital, Kampala, by the Somalia-based al-Shabab armed group.
Many of the victims died when the dormitory of the Lhubiriha Secondary College, positioned lower than 2km (1.2 miles) from the border, was set on fireplace late on Friday.
College students informed Al Jazeera that they have been sleeping when suspected ADF fighters pressured their manner into the college. A few of them have been hacked to loss of life, whereas others have been burned alive utilizing petrol bombs. Some college students survived by hiding underneath the our bodies of others.
“We have been on the point of sleep once we heard shouting, we noticed males carrying darkish inexperienced garments with weapons, axes and machetes,” stated Vibrant Mumbere, a scholar.
“They needed us to open the dormitory door after which began taking pictures,” he added.
Uganda’s Minister of Training Janet Museveni, who can be the nation’s first woman, stated 17 male college students have been burned of their dormitory whereas 20 feminine college students have been hacked to loss of life with machetes.
An unknown variety of attackers, believed to be from the ADF armed group based mostly within the japanese DRC, fled in the direction of the Virunga Nationwide Park, an unlimited space that straddles the border, with six college students in captivity, authorities stated.
Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesman Felix Kulayigye stated armed forces have been pursuing the perpetrators to rescue the kidnapped college students.
Questions have been raised about how the attackers managed to evade detection in a border area with a heavy army presence.
Main Basic Dick Olum stated intelligence steered the presence of the ADF within the space not less than two days earlier than the assault, and an investigation can be wanted to ascertain what went flawed.
Households in mourning
Lots of the victims have been burned past recognition, irritating efforts to determine the useless and account for the lacking.
At a mortuary in Bwera, a city close to Mpondwe, households have been inconsolable because the our bodies of their family members have been positioned in coffins and brought away for burial.
Selevest Mapoze, mayor of the city of Mpondwe-Lhubiriha, stated “many of the kinfolk have come to take their our bodies” from the morgue.
However for a lot of others, there was no information of lacking kinfolk. The charred unidentified our bodies have been despatched to the town of Fort Portal for DNA testing.
“We all know that 20 of the scholars, all ladies, have been hacked to loss of life utilizing machetes, and 17 boys have been burned as petrol bombs have been thrown of their dormitory,” Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi, reporting from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, stated.
Who’re the ADF?
The ADF, which the US has designated a “terrorist” group, is taken into account the deadliest of dozens of armed militias that roam mineral-rich japanese DRC. In March, Washington introduced a reward of as much as $5m for data resulting in the seize of the ADF chief.
The ADF was shaped in 1995 by a coalition of insurgent forces – together with the Uganda Muslim Liberation Military and the Nationwide Military for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) – to battle towards the rule of Museveni, who has held energy within the East African nation since 1986.
Over time, the group was backed by subsequent DRC governments who have been eager on subverting Rwandan and Ugandan affect within the nation.
However in 2013, the ADF started attacking Congolese army targets, main the military to battle again. Consequently, ADF chief Jamil Mukulu fled to Tanzania in 2015, the place he was arrested and extradited to his residence nation to face trial on expenses of “terrorism”.
Previous ADF assaults
This was not the primary assault on a college in Uganda by the ADF. In June 1998, 80 college students have been burned to loss of life of their dormitories in an ADF assault on Kichwamba Technical Institute close to the DRC border. Greater than 100 college students have been kidnapped.
Ugandan authorities additionally blamed the group for lethal suicide bombings within the capital in 2021, following which it launched a joint army operation in DRC. However the measures have to this point did not cease the ADF assaults.