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Uganda: Opposition Calls for Repatriation of Troops After School Massacre

Uganda’s opposition called on Wednesday for the repatriation of Ugandan troops deployed abroad to reinforce security after a massacre last week at a high school blamed on jihadists left at least 42 people dead.

Among the victims, mostly students, the youngest was 12 and the oldest 95. They were killed on Friday night in Mpondwe (west), a few kilometers from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with machetes, shot or burnt alive.

Immediately after the massacre, Ugandan army and police officials incriminated members of the ADF, the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamist militia that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

On Wednesday, Abdallah Kiwanuka, an opposition official and minister in a shadow cabinet in charge of internal affairs, said that Uganda’s decision to deploy troops abroad, notably in Somalia as part of an African Union force to combat the radical Islamist Shebab, had “exceeded” the country’s security capabilities and “given the ADF the opportunity to carry out attacks”. 

“We are putting pressure on the government to bring the forces home and strengthen our internal security,” he said.

A total of 21 people have been arrested, some suspected by the authorities of being ADF “collaborators”.

While the families are still awaiting the results of DNA tests to identify several of the victims, questions remain as to how the assailants managed to carry out the massacre and escape in a region under heavy military presence.

On Sunday, President Yoweri Museveni described the massacre as a “desperate, cowardly” act and promised to eliminate those responsible for the bloody assault, the worst of its kind in the country for years.

The attack on Lhubiriha High School in Mpondwe is the deadliest in Uganda since a double attack in Kampala in 2010, which left 76 dead in a raid claimed by the Somali-based Islamist group Shebab.

According to a UN report, the ADF rebels have been receiving financial support from the Islamic State group since at least 2019 and are seeking to expand their area of operations.

Source : Africanews