By Paolo Ondarza
Pope Francis has offered his prayers for young victims killed in a “brutal attack” at a school in Kasese in western Uganda. At least 41 are dead and the attackers are said to be fleeing to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Encouraging everyone to “pray for peace,” Pope Francis at his first Sunday Angelus since being released from Rome’s Gemelli Hospital turned his thoughts to the young students who were victims of a “brutal attack” on a school in western Uganda.
The Pope asked everyone to pray for peace wherever there is tension and war.
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According to Police, the rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) provoked the attack. Among the victims were 38 young students from the secondary school in Lhubiriha. The public school is located in the Ugandan district of Kasese, in the west of the country and two kilometres from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some were slaughtered, while several female students were reportedly kidnapped. A guard and two members of the local community were also shot outside the facility. Eight people were rescued and are in critical condition in the facility. Some bodies were reportedly burnt and are now unrecognisable.
The attackers are said to be on the run and the Ugandan army is reportedly in pursuit. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) are accused of launching many attacks against civilians in recent years, particularly against communities in remote areas of eastern Congo. Last week alone, a village in the republic near the border with Uganda was attacked.
The militiamen are opposed to the government of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the African Union, and the European Union have condemned the attack.