Uganda has in the past sent troops into DRC to help fight the ADF rebel group inked to ISIL. [File: Chris Mamu/AP Photo]

An armed group linked to ISIL (ISIS) has killed at least 25 people in an attack on a school in western Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, police said on Saturday.

Members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan group based in eastern DRC that has pledged allegiance to the ISIL group, attacked Lhubirira secondary school in Mpondwe, burning a dormitory and looting food late on Friday.

“So far 25 bodies have been recovered from the school and transferred to Bwera Hospital. Also recovered are eight victims, who remain in critical condition at Bwera Hospital,” Ugandan police said on Twitter.

The authorities did not specify how many pupils were among the victims.

Uganda’s defence spokesperson Felix Kulayigye said on Saturday that its forces were pursuing the attackers with the aim of rescuing those they abducted.

The local Daily Monitor newspaper, citing unnamed security sources, had reported that the attackers “abducted several” others before fleeing.

Earlier the police said they were pursuing the attackers, who fled towards Virunga National Park in the DRC.

Winnie Kiiza, an influential political leader and a former lawmaker from the region, condemned the “cowardly attack” on Twitter.

She said, “attacks on schools are unacceptable and are a grave violation of children’s rights,” adding that schools should always be “a safe place for every student.”

In April, the ADF attacked a village in eastern DRC, killing at least 20 people.

Ugandan authorities for years have vowed to track down ADF fighters “at home and abroad.”

In 2021, Uganda launched joint air and artillery strikes in DR Congo against the ADF.

The group is believed to have been responsible for killing 36 people in March during an overnight attack on the village of Mukondi, in the eastern DRC.

Ugandan authorities also blamed the group for deadly suicide bombings in the capital, Kampala, in 2021.

The ADF, which the United States has deemed a “terrorist” group, is considered the deadliest of dozens of armed militias that roam mineral-rich eastern DRC.

In 1995, the ADF was formed by a coalition of rebel forces – including the Uganda Muslim Liberation Army and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) – to fight against the Yoweri Museveni administration.

Over the years, the ADF was backed by subsequent governments of DRC that were keen on subverting Rwandan and Ugandan influence in the country.

But in 2013, the ADF began attacking Congolese military targets, leading the army to fight back. Consequently, its leader Jamil Mululu fled to Tanzania in 2015, where he was arrested and extradited to his home country to stand trial on charges of terrorism.

In recent years, the ADF has been linked to the armed group ISIL (ISIS) and has referred to itself as the Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahideen – City of Monotheism and Holy Warriors (MTM).

Tags : Allied Democratic Forces (ADFRebelsUganda
Adewale Adenrele

The author Adewale Adenrele

Journalist, PR, Researcher, Tourism& Cultural promoter, Social commentator. Correspondent @Africandevmag

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