After dozens of students were slain in an attack by a rebel group and many more went missing, distraught families gathered at a mortuary in western Uganda on Sunday to hear if there was any news of their loved ones.
According to authorities, a secondary school in Mpondwe town, which is near to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was attacked late on Friday and butchered, killing at least 41 persons, 38 of them were pupils.
Attack on Lhubiriha Secondary School left Uganda stunned and drew criticism from all over the world. Victims were hacked, shot, and burned to death.
The Allied Democratic Front (ADF) armed organisation has been held accountable for the attack by the army and police. As the victims fled, the attackers kidnapped six persons.
The military claimed it was hunting for the assailants and would release those taken hostage.
As the assailants set a locked dormitory on fire, many of the victims were charred beyond recognition, making it difficult to identify the dead and locate the missing.
Families wept at a mortuary in Bwera, a town close to the attack site, as the bodies of their loved ones were placed in coffins and transported for burial.
Many others, though, were unaware that their relatives were missing. The city of Fort Portal received many of the burned corpses for DNA testing.
It is Uganda’s bloodiest strike since 2010, when the Somalian terrorist organisation al-Shabab bombed Kampala twice, killing 76 people.
In addition to the African Union and the United States, which are key allies of Uganda, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres referred to the bloodshed as “an appalling act.”
President Yoweri Museveni declared on Saturday that the army would find “these evil people and they will pay for what they have done”.
However, concerns have been raised regarding how the assailants avoided capture in a border location with a significant military presence.
According to Major General Dick Olum, an investigation will be required to determine what went wrong because intelligence indicated that the ADF was present in the area at least two days prior to the attack.
In an effort to expel the ADF from Congolese strongholds, Uganda and the DRC together began an onslaught in 2021, however the strategies largely fell short.
In a June 1998 ADF raid on Uganda’s Kichwamba Technical Institute near the DRC border, 80 students were killed by fire in their dormitories.