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20 Suspected ADF Collaborators Arrested in Uganda   

Ugandan security forces cordon the scene outside the Mpondwe Lhubirira Secondary School, after militants linked to rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed and abducted multiple people, in Mpondwe, western Uganda, June 17, 2023.

Ugandan police say they have arrested 20 suspected collaborators of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, who killed 42 people in a school Friday night.

Addressing journalists at the Naguru Police Headquarters in Kampala, police spokesperson Fred Enanga revealed security personnel had arrested 20 suspected collaborators of the Allied Democratic Forces rebels. The ADF are militants with ties to the Islamic State group.

This comes as Uganda’s armed forces continue to pursue the rebels in the areas of the Rwenzururu mountains and into the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park.

“We also have the head teacher and the director of school as part of our inquiries. They need to give us answers to certain questions,” said Enanga.

The suspected ADF rebels attacked the Lhubiriha secondary school in Mpondwe Kasese district Friday night, killing 42 people, including 37 students.

According to the police, the attackers set fire to the boys’ dormitory and attacked the girls with machetes. The burned bodies of 17 male students were recovered. Six people survived with injuries and are being treated in different hospitals in the country. Even though 25 bodies have so far been examined and identified, only 23 have been handed over to families for burial.

The student victims ranged in age from 12 to 25.

The Allied Democratic Forces rebels have previously carried out attacks in Uganda.

This was the first ADF attack on a school in 25 years.

In June 1998, the ADF attacked Kichwamba National Technical Institute in the Kabarole district, killing 58 students. At the time, students had locked themselves in a dormitory to avoid being abducted and the rebels retaliated by setting the dormitory on fire. Nearly 100 students were abducted.

The Allied Democratic Forces, whose founder Jamil Mukulu has been imprisoned since 2015, operate in the Rwenzururu mountains in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The group has been fighting the Ugandan government since 1996.