Uganda military rescues three of six students abducted by rebels

Uganda security forces are seen at the site of an attack in Mpondwe, Uganda, on June 18, 2023 at the Mpondwe Lhubiriha Secondary School [Stuart Tibaweswa / AFP]

The Ugandan army said it has rescued the students taken during the massacre of 42 people by an ISIL-linked armed group last week.

The Ugandan military has rescued three of the six students who were kidnapped by rebel fighters when they stormed a school in the west of the country last week and massacred 42 people, mostly young students, the army said on Wednesday.

“There were six students kidnapped and three have so far been rescued,” said military spokesman Felix Kulayigye.

A woman with two children who had been kidnapped outside the school was also rescued, together with her children, while two fighters were killed and two guns captured, Kulayigye said.

On Friday night, fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group linked to ISIL/ISIS, stormed the Lhubirira Secondary School in Mpondwe on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The rebels entered a boys’ dormitory, shot at the children and set the building on fire, incinerating nearly everyone in it. They then entered a girls’ dormitory and killed them with machetes.

The attack was one of the most horrific in Uganda in decades.

Most of the bodies recovered from the boys’ dormitory were burned beyond recognition and authorities are using DNA tests with samples submitted by parents of the students, to identify them.

ADF, formerly a Ugandan rebel group, operates in the jungles of eastern DRC and has over the past two decades been blamed for killings of civilians there.

The group has also sometimes carried out attacks in Uganda including bombings at a police station and near the parliament building in the Ugandan capital in 2021.

Deemed a “terrorist” group by the United States, it is considered one of the deadliest of dozens of armed militias that roam mineral-rich eastern DRC, like the M23 rebels.



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