Ugandan police makes arrests after school attack leaves 42 dead

Relatives mourn Florence Masika and her son Zakayo Masereka, who were both killed by suspected rebels as they retreated from Saturday's attack on the Lhubiriha Secondary School, at their funeral in Nyabugando, Uganda Sunday, June 18, 2023. A bereaved Ugandan border town on Sunday began burying the victims of the brutal attack by suspected extremist rebels that left at least 42 people dead, most of them students, as security forces stepped up patrols along the frontier with volatile eastern Congo. (AP Photo/Hajarah Nalwadda)

Ugandan troops have been deployed to guard public facilities after students were left burned beyond recognition, authorities say

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Ugandan police have arrested three suspects following a terrorist attack on a school in the country’s western border region, which authorities say killed more than 40 people.

Police have blamed Friday’s massacre on the Allied Democratic Forces, an extremist group linked to Islamic State. Most of the victims were students at the Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School in Kasese district, where the stabbing, shooting, and arson rampage occurred.

The suspects were apprehended after tip-offs from local residents, according to Kasese district police chief Joe Walusimbi. He declined to provide additional information, but did say that the Ugandan army remains on the hunt for the assailants, who reportedly fled into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We have arrested three people and investigations are still ongoing. I cannot tell you whether they are Ugandans or not. We shall tell you after investigation,” Walusimbi said, as cited by the Ugandan news outlet Daily Monitor.

Out of the 42 confirmed deaths, 37 have been identified as students, the police chief said. Among the pupils killed, the bodies of 17 were burned beyond recognition and have been transferred to a DNA testing facility.

At least 16 missing students are believed to have been kidnapped and taken across the DR Congo border, which is only two kilometers from the school.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni described the mass killing as “criminal, desperate, terrorist, and futile,” and announced the deployment of additional troops to the border region to “eliminate the obvious gaps.”

Walusimbi said on Sunday that more forces have been deployed in the area.

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