Nairobi, Jun 17 (EFE).- At least 25 people were killed overnight in an attack on a school in western Uganda by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group with ties to the Islamic State (IS), Ugandan police said Saturday.
“Last night, we registered a terrorist attack by the ADF rebels on Lhubirira secondary school, in Mpondwe,” two kilometers from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda Police tweeted.
“A dormitory was burnt and a food store looted. So far 25 bodies have been recovered from the school and transferred to Bwera Hospital. Also recovered are 8 victims, who remain in critical condition at Bwera Hospital,” the police said.
It added that together with the Ugandan army they began a “hot pursuit” of the attackers towards the Congolese Virunga National Park.
“We do offer our deepest condolences to the families of those who have been killed, and offer our prayers and thoughts to those who have been wounded,” the Twitter post further said.
The ADF are a rebel group of Ugandan origin, but currently have their bases in the Congolese provinces of North Kivu and neighboring Ituri, near the DRC’s border with Uganda.
Although experts from the United Nations Security Council found no evidence of IS direct support for the ADF, the United States has identified them since March 2021 as “a terrorist organization” affiliated with the jihadist group.
According to the Kivu Security Tracker, ADF is responsible for at least 3,850 deaths from 730 attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2017.
The Ugandan authorities have accused the group of organizing attacks within its territory, including two suicide bombings in Kampala in November 2021 and killings of top officials by armed bikers.
The DRC and Ugandan armies began a joint military operation against the ADF on Congolese soil in November 2021, but rebel attacks have continued.
Since 1998, eastern DRC has been mired in a conflict fueled by rebel militias and the Army, despite the presence of the UN mission in DRC (MONUSCO), with about 16,000 uniformed personnel on the ground. EFE