Death toll from rebel attack in Uganda rises to 37, manhunt underway

The death toll from an attack by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Uganda's western district of Kasese has climbed to 37.
Death toll from rebel attack in Uganda rises to 37, manhunt underway

An injured person is treated at a local clinic after an attack in Mpondwe, Uganda, on June 17.

Ugandan military said Saturday it is pursuing the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in the country's western region bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after a deadly attack killed 37 students.

The Uganda Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) are pursuing the ADF rebels who could be retreating to Virunga National Park in the DRC, Felix Kulayigye, the military spokesperson, told Xinhua by phone.

"We shall get them wherever they will be" to rescue the students who were abducted by the rebels to carry the food they looted, Kulayigye pledged.

The ADF rebels attacked Lhubirira Secondary School Friday night in Mpondwe, about 2 km from the border with the DRC, burning a dormitory. Among the victims, 17 students were burnt to death, the spokesperson said, adding that six students were in the hands of the rebels.

Dick Olum, UPDF commander for the mountain division based in western Uganda, said in a televised address that Uganda's warplanes and helicopters have been deployed to hunt the militants, as well as search and rescue the students.

At least eight students who were sent to the hospital remain in critical condition.

Olum urged local residents to help the military forces identify the suspects who allegedly helped the rebels to enter Mpondwe. "We have got information that ADF came and spent two nights here before they attacked the school."

"Let's all be alert and arrest suspected persons," Olum said.

The ADF, which is a branch of the Islamic State in Central Africa, is a Ugandan rebel group that is holed up in the jungles of eastern DRC. The rebel group is blamed for causing havoc in villages in eastern DRC.

The Ugandan military and their Congolese counterparts launched joint operations on the rebel group in November 2021.

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