Three out of six abducted students rescued by UPDF

The military and local authorities verified yesterday that three of the Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School students who were purportedly abducted on Friday by suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels have escaped from captivity.

The former abductees are in the army’s capable hands, according to Brig Felix Kulayigye, spokesperson for the UPDF and the Defense Department.
He remarked, without going into any detail, “It’s true three students escaped from ADF rebels, they had crossed to DR Congo and this was because of much pressure mounted on them by UPDF soldiers.”
Mpondwe-Lhubiriha SS was attacked on Friday by unknown attackers who the government has variously described as ADF terrorists and hired hitmen. Of the school’s 63 students, 37 were killed.

Six people were hurt, and Raimon Muhindo, the head teacher of the school, estimated that 16 people had been abducted.
Kasese District chiefs and the military independently confirmed that three of these abductees managed to escape and return to Uganda.

Jubilation and relief followed the trio’s escape and return, but worried parents who still don’t know where their children are ordered the security forces to launch a counteroffensive to find the missing youngsters.

Parents’ chances of finding their 15-year-old son, Surprise Yunasi, are waning, according to Mr. Remegio Kule, after their DNA samples failed to match any of the students burned-to-death bodies.
Security personnel have instructed the family to wait for the release of the captive students.

“I am surely confused and restless, and I wish I had found him in any state that day [of the attack],” Mr Kule said.
Mr Loti Masereka, the father of Brian Muhindo, 17, said “they told us to wait for the DNA results, which they said were to be ready by Monday June 19, but a day has passed [after the deadline] without hearing from them”.

“We lost three members in our family and only two of their bodies were found and we have peacefully laid them to rest, but we are still unstable because one is still missing,” he added.

It is unclear if the missing children are alive or not.
Mr Wilson Mbabazi said people have been gathering at his home since the attack on Friday, waiting for information about the fate of his son, Joab Byamukama, who was in Senior One.

“ … we don’t know whether he is still alive or not,” he said, adding that they had not been informed of the outcome of the DNA test.
The missing student’s grandfather, Mr Yowasi Museveni, said his grandson held a “promising” future.

“What we want from the government is to look for all the children who are missing, many parents are stranded and they don’t know what to do, it is the responsibility of the security [forces] to guard people and their properties,” he said.

One of Mr Moses Sunday’s children at the school survived in the attack, but a sibling named Amos Tumuhamye remains missing. He, like other parents, is still awaiting DNA results.

When attackers broke in and began the killings, Mr. Davis Tumusiime, who survived, said he was awakened from sleep by the noise of his colleagues, but he managed to slip out to safety.

Because the termly tuition was Shs150,000, which was substantially the lowest in Kasese, many parents selected the school, which was founded by a Canadian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) led by a man by the name of Peter Hunter.

Because “[in] our culture, when someone is missing, literally there is no work that we can engage in as a family, we have put everything on hold until the whereabouts of my son Edgar Athwanzire are known,” Mr. Seleverio Bwambale claimed they had stopped doing everything.

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