Militants linked to Islamic State terrorists carried out a massacre at a boarding school in western Uganda last week, killing and kidnapping students. It’s been described as the deadliest attack in Uganda since 2010.
Latest reports say at least 42 were murdered at the predominantly Christian school in Mpondwe, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Grieving parents have been burying their dead.
A witness told the BBC the schoolchildren were singing gospel songs before bedtime when the terrorists struck. They cut the students down with machetes and burnt others alive in their dormitory.
The attackers were overheard shouting Allahu Akbar (Allah is greater) during the 90-minute onslaught at Lhubiriha Secondary School.
The attackers are said to be members of the Allied Democratic Forces, an insurgency group pledged to overturn the government of Uganda, linked with Islamic State terrorists.
Thirty-eight of the dead were students at the school. Other victims included a school guard. The victims were aged 12 – 70. Eight others were severely wounded.
According to reports, the attackers kidnapped eight others, mainly girls, to carry back looted food supplies to their base in Congo. The BBC said three were later freed by the army in a rescue mission, which resulted in the deaths of two of the assailants.
This is considered to have been the first raid by the ADF on a school in Uganda in 25 years.
There has been a growing number of attacks against Christians in Uganda as Islamist terrorism gains ground in the region.
Uganda is a majority-Christian nation with many active churches. Eighty-four per cent are Christians. Of these 34 percent are evangelicals.
The influence of radical Islam is growing steadily. Many Christians in the Muslim-majority border regions have experienced persecution. Pastors and churches have been attacked and converts from Islam have been killed. In some areas, local laws have been passed to seize church land.