KAMPALA, Uganda (GlobeAfrique) — Ugandan authorities recovered the bodies of 41 people, including 38 students, who were burned, shot, or hacked to death after suspected rebels attacked a secondary school near the border with Congo.
According to the Ugandan military, at least six people were abducted by the rebels, who fled across the porous border into Congo after the raid on Friday night.
The victims included the students, one guard, and two local community members killed outside the school, Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Mayor Selevest Mapoze told The Associated Press.
Mapoze said that some students suffered fatal burns when the rebels set fire to a dormitory, and others were shot or hacked with machetes.
Around 11:30 p.m., the raid involved about five attackers, the Ugandan military said. Soldiers from a nearby brigade who responded to the attack found the school on fire, “with dead bodies of students lying in the compound,” military spokesman Brig. Felix Kulayigye said in a statement.
The ADF has been accused of launching many attacks in recent years targeting civilians in remote parts of eastern Congo. The shadowy group rarely claims responsibility for attacks.
The ADF has long opposed the rule of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a U.S. security ally who has held power in this East African country since 1986.
The group was established in the early 1990s by some Ugandan Muslims, who said Museveni’s policies had sidelined them. At the time, the rebels staged deadly attacks in Ugandan villages and the capital, including a 1998 attack in which 80 students were massacred in a town, not from the scene of the latest attack.
A Ugandan military assault forced the ADF into eastern Congo, where many rebel groups can operate because the central government has limited control there.
The group has since established ties with the Islamic State group.
In March, at least 19 people were killed in Congo by suspected ADF extremists.
Ugandan authorities for years have vowed to track down ADF militants outside Ugandan territory. In 2021 Uganda launched joint air and artillery strikes in Congo against the group.