The Uganda People’s Defence Force(UPDF) has denied claims that three students of Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School that were abducted by the Allied Democratic Forces(ADF) rebels had escaped from captivity.
Last week, suspected members of the ADF rebel group attacked the school resulting in the loss of at least 43 lives, including 37 students.
However, the information about some of the missing children created anxiety among parents whose whereabouts remain unknown.
A section of the media reported last week quoted UPDF Spokesperson Gen. Felix Kulyaigye that the three children managed to escape and had been reunited with their parents.
But while addressing the community of Mpondwe at Mpondwe Muslim Secondary School, Maj. Gen Dick Olum, the Commander of Operation Shujja, said that from their investigations three students were abducted and the force is still pursuing the rebels to rescue them.
He added that during their pursuit they discovered a woman reportedly from Masaka with three children, whom they thought were learners from the school.
Maj. Gen. Olum added that six rebels in this pursuit have been killed and six guns recovered. He asked the local community to work with the security agencies through providing any relevant information in dealing with such terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, Defence and Veteran Affairs Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has revealed that more than 500 Allied Democratic Force rebels have been killed since the inception of Operation Shujja in November 2021.
According to Ssempijja, another 50 rebels were captured while a number of other military hardware-including SMGs and RPGs were recovered.
Ssempijja said UPDF has made significant progress in breaking down the ADF cells in DRC and it’s those in disarray that are attacking communities to divert the UPDF-FARDC mission.
Speaking during a meeting with leaders of Bukhonzo East and West Constituencies, Ssempijja said that the forces have since established that the rebel group is involved in many dubious deals including illegal timber cutting and mining and it’s these resources they are using to lure young men across the region to join them.
He added that Uganda will not withdraw its forces from Congo adding that the President had suggested additional funding and resource allocation to enhance the operation.
He called upon the local communities across the border to work with security agencies to provide any relevant information.
The Kasese RDC Joe Walusimbi asked local leaders at the Sub County level across the district to re-activate their sub-county security committees.
The Nyakatonzi Sub-county LCIII Chairperson Steven Mbera, asked the government to enhance security noting that many sub-counties don’t have security posts and those in existence are inadequately staffed.