Ugandan police said at least 41 people have been killed in a suspected rebel attack on a school near the Congo border.
In a statement on Saturday, authorities said that the Allied Democratic Forces carried out an attack late Friday night on a school in the border town of Mpondwe.
Lhubiriha Secondary School, which is privately owned, is located about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Congo border.
“A dormitory was burnt and a food store looted. So far 25 bodies have been recovered from the school and transferred to Bwera Hospital,” the statement said, adding that eight others are in critical condition.
The statement said Ugandan troops tracked the attackers into Congolese territory.
It was not immediately clear if all of the victims were students.
The local Daily Monitor newspaper, citing unnamed security sources, reported that the attackers “abducted several” others before fleeing.
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.”
The Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, is accused of launching many attacks on civilians in recent years, notably on civilian communities in remote parts of eastern Congo.
The ADF has long opposed the rule of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a U.S. security ally who has been in power since 1986.
Established in the early 1990s in Uganda, the ADF later was forced to flee into eastern Congo, where many rebel groups are able to operate because Congo’s central government has limited control there.
The ADF has ties with the Islamic State group.
In March , at least 19 people were killed in Congo by suspected ADF militants.
Ugandan authorities for years have vowed to track down ADF militants “at home and abroad.”
In 2021, Uganda launched joint air and artillery strikes in Congo against ADF rebels — against the ADF.