Assailants spent two nights in Kasese before school raid – Gen Olum

Police and UPDF deployed at Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe town in Kasese District in western Uganda where students were killed and several others abducted by suspected rebels on June 17, 2023. PHOTOS/ ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • The charred bodies will be subjected to DNA test to help identify them before they are handed over to parents for burial.

The suspected ADF rebels who raided a privately-owned school in Kasese killing several students before abducting several others spent two nights in the western Uganda district before the attack, according to Maj Gen Dick Olum, the UPDF commander of mountain division.

Police in a Saturday morning statement said they had recovered about 25 bodies of students following the 11pm Friday attack at Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe town, located about 2kms from DRC border.

Residents gathered at the school following the raid 

However, first responders and the local authorities said the toll had jumped to 41. Police are yet to provide an update on the toll rise.

The Force’s spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga said eight other students were found alive but in critical condition and are undergoing treatment at Bwera Government General Hospital.

When this reporter visited the school, police, UPDF soldiers and scene of crime officers were found piecing together evidence as they picked bodies, some of which were burnt beyond recognition. 

"We have got information that the rebels spent two nights here before they raided the school. We have sent for choppers to be deployed in our search and rescue operation for the students who were abducted," Maj Gen Olum who doubles as commander operation Shujaa in DR Congo said as he addressed curious locals who had gathered outside the school to get more details of what had happened.

According to him, the rebels locked some students, mostly the boys in one dormitory before setting it on fire.

They then raided the girls’ dormitory where several were hacked to death before taking others as captives.
He said the charred bodies will be subjected to DNA test to help identify them before they are handed over to parents for burial.

But as the authorities are still trying to establish the number of casualties and those that were taken as captives, Mr Clarence Mumbahya, the hospital administrator at Bwera Government General Hospital said they received six victims of the attack but two died shortly moments after being admitted to the facility.

"The two died because they had lost a lot of blood and we had no single litre of blood at the hospital. The other four who are also in critical condition were taken to the theatre for management. I thank God we have got some blood from our sister hospital, Kagando. I ask God to give them a second chance to live because they are young people who had a vision and bright future ahead," Mr Mumbahya said.

Kasese Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Lt Joe Walusimbi said there were 62 students in the dormitories at the time of the attack.