AFRICA/UGANDA - Three students from the attacked school manage to escape; questions remain as to the motivation for the massacre

Wednesday, 21 June 2023 massacres  

Kampala (Agenzia Fides) - Three students captured in the attack on Lhubiriha secondary school (Kasese district, western Uganda) on the night of June 17 to 18 managed to escape from the hands of their kidnappers (see Fides, 19/6/2023). According to a spokesman for the Ugandan army, the attackers took the hostages to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, from where they later managed to free themselves, also thanks to pressure exerted on the group by the Ugandan soldiers. According to the military, there are still three students in the hands of the terrorists, but other sources say that the hostages taken during the attack are more numerous, at least twenty.
Meanwhile, 20 people have been arrested in connection with the school raid which left 42 dead, including 37 students. The fact that among those arrested are the director of the institute and the director of the school suggests that the authorities give some credence to the hypothesis launched by the Minister of Education, the First Lady, Janet Museveni, that the attack was committed in the context of a dispute over the property of the school (see Fides, 19/6/2023). The army immediately accused the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) of carrying out the massacre, but so far there has been no claim from the jihadist group, although among those arrested is a self-proclaimed ADF member who claimed responsibility for the massacre on social media.
Janet Museveni had notably declared that near the attacked school, which has about sixty students, was another school of 700 students, which had not however been touched by the assailants. Some opposition members accuse the army of intervening two hours after the attack when there was a military barracks one and a half kilometers from the school and a police station two kilometers away, pointing out that according to the army itself, the attackers spent at least two days in the area before the attack.
To clarify these points, the Ugandan parliament has ordered the government to report on the events in Lhubiriha. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/6/2023)