Kasese School Attack: 20 Suspected ‘Collaborators’ Arrested

Fred Enanga speaks to reporters at the police headquarters in 2023. PHOTO/COURTESY

In a shocking development, reports have emerged that twenty suspected ADF collaborators,” have been arrested in connection with the recent attack on a school in Kasese.police spokesman Fred Enanga told a press conference, referring to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) based in the DRC.

The incident has triggered widespread outrage and condemnation, with many calling for swift action to be taken against those responsible.

The head teacher and the director of the Lhubiriha Secondary School in Mpondwe, western Uganda, which was attacked late on Friday, were among those taken into custody, he said in a separate statement.

According to reports, the “collaborators” were responsible for providing the attackers with key information about the school’s layout, procedures, and other important details. Without this information, the notorious militia group would have been unable to mount such a coordinated and deadly assault.

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37 pupils were among the 42 deaths, according to Enanga. One of the victims who has been so far identified was 95 years old, while the youngest was a 12-year-old girl.

He added that there were different accounts on the number of victims taken hostage by the ADF rebels, which ranged between five and seven, and that another six persons were hurt and are now receiving medical attention.

“An attack on innocent children is barbaric, is inhumane, and of course constitutes crimes against humanity,” Enanga said.

In gruesome murders that have prompted widespread criticism, the young people were shot, macheted, and burned to death in their dormitories.

The arrests of these individuals represent an important step in the ongoing investigation into the attack, and will hopefully provide some closure to the families of the victims.

“As a country, we remain steadfast in our support of one another in the struggle against terrorism. The ADF will not be able to undermine Ugandans’ unity in the fight against terrorism and extremism, no matter how horrific the act or how cruel or barbaric the techniques employed, Enanga continued.

Grief-stricken On Monday, Ugandans were burying additional fatalities as other families were waiting in agony for DNA results on some of the pupils who had been burned beyond recognition or were still desperately looking for word of their loved ones.

15 members of the community, including five girls, were believed to be still missing according to the authorities.

One of the missing students’ guardian, Joseph Masika, recalled his heartbreaking visits to morgues and hospitals.

“We are unsure if our children are among those who have been kidnapped or have been severely burned. We are distressed, and we are hoping that the government would respond to us quickly, the 48-year-old businessman told AFP.

No parent would want to experience this kind of agony, but we continue to hold out hope that they are alive and well somewhere.

“Terrorist action that is cowardly”

Ugandan law enforcement is pursuing the assailants who escaped with their victims back toward the flimsy DRC border.

President Yoweri Museveni declared in his first speech on the attack on Sunday that the militants’ “desperate, cowardly, terrorist action” would not save them and vowed to chase them “into extinction.”

The majority of the dead who had been identified were laid to rest on Sunday, according to Joe Walusimbi, Resident District Commissioner of Kesese, the region where the school was situated, although more burials took place on Monday.

He told AFP that “we are almost finished with the burial of the already identified dead and waiting for the DNA tests of those students who were burned past recognition.”

It was the bloodiest incident in Uganda since twin explosions in Kampala in 2010 that left 76 people dead and were claimed by the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization with headquarters in Somalia.

Since the 1990s, the ADF, an armed organization historically connected to Museveni-opponent rebels in Uganda who were predominately Muslim, has been held responsible for thousands of civilian fatalities in the DRC.

UN researchers said that the Islamic State group has been funding the ADF since at least 2019 in a study that will be released this week.

The Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP), an offshoot of the IS, refers to the ADF as its military force. The ADF was added to the list of “terrorist groups” linked to IS by the United States in March 2021.

In the coming weeks and months, it will be important for law enforcement officials to continue their investigation into this incident, and to bring all those responsible to justice. We owe it to the victims of this attack, and to our communities as a whole, to ensure that justice is served and that those responsible are held accountable for their actions. Only then can we begin to heal and move forward, and to work towards a future where such acts have no place in our society.

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