Preliminary investigations have linked the Kasese ADF rebel school attack that has left 41 students killed to ownership wrangles.
This has been cofirmed by First Lady who is Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataha Museveni noting that the reports indicate that there are groups within Kasese that want to take over Lhubiriha Secondary School where the incident happened.
This school is privately owned, apparently built by NGO, led by somebody called Peter Hunter, Canadian working both in DRC and Uganda.
“There has been that conflict between those groups that wanted to take over the school and the NGO which actually built the school, so there was that background also. Those are facts that are not yet very clear but that is the information that is coming in, and that we have received so far,” she said.
She stated that she will go to the ground to see and make some on-spot assessment to know exactly what really happened.
“On behalf of the government of Uganda and the Ministry of Education and Sports, and on my own behalf, we express our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the bereaved families, and the staff for the tragedy,” she said.
She noted that there is an impression that perhaps the terrorist group may have been used by the people who were fighting to take over the school to do what they have done.
“Still, that information will come out at a later stage because the government is going to have to find out and get the actual information. For now, the government is in charge, the security agencies are trying to follow up and we will get all the information,” she noted.
She appealed to all people of goodwill and to the country to pray for bereaved families and the community in the area.
“Parents across the country please do not panic, our children are safe and they will remain safe. They are evil and they are trying to harm our children but they will not always manage,” she noted.
Kataaha also explained how the rebel groups attacked the school, noting that the girls opened their dormitory door and tried to run out, and this evil group (ADF rebels) caught them and killed them with pangas.
“There were two dormitories, the boys’ and girls’ dormitories. The boys locked themselves in their dormitory so the rebels were not able to get inside, so they threw in a petrol bomb. The boys were burnt completely,” she narrated.
She said that the president has provided some support for the affected families to help to arrange the funerals and help them to manage this very difficult time.
“When Hon. John Chryestom Muyingo(State Minister for Higher Education) comes back,we will get more information obviously and we will pass it on to the public. For now, however, the government through the security agencies is trying to follow up on what actually happened and it is on top of the situation, she said.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) mountain division commander Major General Dick Olum UPDF on Saturday confirmed that 41 people (mostly students) were killed.
Gunmen suspected to be Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels attacked a privately-owned school at Mpondwe in Kasese District in western Uganda on Friday killing these students and abducting several others.
Mpondwe is located in Nyabugando Town Council, Karambi Sub County, in Kasese district. The school is about two kilometres from the shared border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The unfortunate incident at the school comes 25 years to the day after the same rebel outfit launched a devastating attack on Uganda Technical College, Kichwamba on June 8, 1998.
Reports indicate 80 students lost their lives in that ADF attack while another 100 were abducted.
Security agencies in the Rwenzori Sub-region were said to be on high alert after the rebel group renewed attacks close to the Ugandan border.
Last Sunday night, ADF rebels attacked Domena Village in Kasindi, which is a few kilometres from Uganda’s border town of Mpondwe, killing several people.
At least 133 Congolese, including women and children, were forced to flee into Uganda and camped at Kabuyiri Catholic Church
. However, most of them later returned to their country after the situation normalised, while others stayed with their relatives on the Ugandan side of the border.