Kasese, Uganda | URN | Students who survived the Friday 16, June 2023 night attack at Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School in Kasese District recall that their attackers used sharp objects and guns to break into their dormitory and end the life of their colleagues.
Edgar Mumbere, a senior two student and school timekeeper explains that he rang the bell to end the Friday 16th evening prep at exactly 10:00 pm. Moments later, he says, they heard an unusual knock on the door accompanied by the voice of someone who was speaking in a vague Lukhonzo dialect asking them to open the door.
The students were hesitant to open and the person left the door. But moments later they heard gunshots and wailing from the girl’s dormitory while another group gained access to the boy’s dormitory.
Mumbere said one of the group members asked if any of the students were Muslim. While they all responded in affirmative, one of the attackers hacked a boy who was standing at the door, killing him instantly. A group of others randomly shot at them while taking pictures of each dead body.
Mumbere hid under the bed moments after his decker-mate was killed.
Stephen Muhindo Dido, a senior three student said that one of the students in the dormitory saw people wearing army uniforms and holding guns. He said that while the students called out to the school gatekeeper, the armed group responded with bullets to stop them from seeking help.
Muhindo recalls that the men broke into the dormitory door and started cutting the students using machetes. He said the attackers who were speaking French, Lukhonzo and Swahili spent about five minutes killing their targets and setting fire on them as they left.
Muhindo smeared blood around his body and lay alongside the body of his dead friend, a trick that made them believe that he had already been killed.
Only three students survived the incident while a number of their peers from the 62 in the boarding section are still missing.
Marry Musoki, the school Matron said the suspected rebels also broke into the school food store and stole a number of items including three and a half sacks of flour and burnt the house that accommodated the school staff members. She suspects that some of the girls could have been held hostage by the group.
Richard Dumba, a businessman neighbouring the school says they are living in fear because Uganda has allowed all sorts of people to come into the country and acquire residential status without proper background checks.
Police and the army are still manning the crime scene.