Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua via Getty Images.
Ugandan Police Arrest 20 Suspected Collaborators in Connection with Lhubiriha School Attack
As the death toll reaches 42 from the attack on Lhubiriha Secondary School in Uganada, state police announce arrests of 20 suspected collaborators with the Allied Democratic Forces who are believed to have been behind the attack.
Ugandan police announced that 20 individuals have been apprehended for suspected collaboration with the notorious militia responsible for the devastating rampage at Lhubiriha Secondary School. During the attack, which claimed multiple lives, militants from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) unleashed a wave of violence that involved burning, stabbing, and shooting the victims.
Speaking at a press conference, police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed the arrests, stating, "Twenty arrests have been made of suspected ADF collaborators." The ADF, referring to the Allied Democratic Forces, operates primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
While the army attributes the attack to Islamic State-linked militants, investigators are exploring alternative motives. The ADF, originally formed in the 1990s in opposition to President Yoweri Museveni, accuses the government of mistreating Muslims. Although it is now associated with the IS group, the ADF has not claimed responsibility for this particular assault, despite having conducted past attacks in Uganda.
Describing the assault as "barbaric" and "crimes against humanity," Fred Enanga, condemned the targeting of innocent children. He emphasized the nation's unwavering resolve in the fight against terrorism, stating, "No matter how heinous the attack or how brutal or inhumane the methods used, the ADF will not be able to succeed in demolishing the solidarity of Ugandans in the fight against terrorism and extremism."
According to Fred Enanga, the death toll in the tragic Lhubiriha Secondary School attack has now reached 42, with 37 of the victims identified as students. Among the victims, the age range is wide, spanning from a 95-year-old woman to a 12-year-old girl.
Ugandan army spokesperson Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye revealed to the BBC's Newsday program that in addition to school officials, two individuals accused of aiding the attackers in evading detection in Mpondwe have also been detained.
President Yoweri Museveni denounced the attack as "criminal, desperate, terrorist, and futile" in a statement on Sunday. He pledged to deploy additional troops to the western region of the country and along the Ugandan-Congolese border to pursue the assailants, stating, "Especially now that the Congo Government allowed us to operate on the Congo side also, we have no excuse in not hunting down the ADF terrorists into extinction."
A witness reported hearing one of the attackers shouting "Allahu Akbar," meaning "God is greatest," and claiming success in destabilizing President Museveni's country.
Joseph Masika, a guardian of one of the missing students, expressed the anguish experienced by families as they visited mortuaries and hospitals, uncertain of the fate of their children. "We are distressed," he said, "maybe the government will give us an answer soon, and we are praying. It's a painful situation no parent would want to go through, but we are keeping hope that they are alive wherever they are."
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