Families in a Ugandan border town have begun burying their loved ones who died after a school was targeted by suspected extremist rebels.
The attack in the town of Mpondwe-Lhubiriha left 38 students, a school guard and three civilians dead.
Some students were burned beyond recognition after a dormitory at the Lhubiriha Secondary School was set on fire,
Others were shot or hacked to death by militants armed with guns and machetes during the attack on Friday night.
Ugandan authorities believe at least six students were abducted and taken to DR Congo which is just over a mile away from the school.
Police believe the attack was carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) who are active in DR Congo.
The ADF has established ties with the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.
Image: Local politician Godfrey Katusabe mourns Florence Masika and her son Zakayo Masereka who were both killed in the attack. Pic: AP The number of deaths has risen from 41 after one of eight people wounded in the atrocity died overnight, the town’s mayor Selevest Mapoze said.
“Most of the relatives have come back to take their bodies” from the morgue, he added.
Florence Masika and her son Zakayo Masereka, who were killed as they retreated from the attack, were buried on Sunday.
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Image: Part of the school after the attack. Pic: AP
Image: A dormitory destroyed by fire is seen inside the school. Pic: AP UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres condemned the attack in a statement, urging “the importance of collective efforts, including through enhanced regional partnerships, to tackle cross-border insecurity between (DR Congo) and Uganda and restore durable peace in the area”.
The atmosphere in Mpondwe-Lhubiriha was tense but calm on Sunday, as Ugandan security forces roamed the streets outside and near the school, which was protected by a police cordon.
Ugandan security forces have not given a detailed account of how the suspected rebels were able to carry out the attack.
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Some students have been abducted while others suffered fatal burns, were shot, or hacked with machetes. In a statement released on Sunday, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni described the attack as “criminal, desperate, terrorist and futile”, vowing to deploy more troops on the Ugandan side of the border.
The ADF has been accused of launching many attacks targeting civilians in remote parts of eastern DR Congo in recent years, including one in March in which 19 people were killed.
The group has long opposed the rule of Ugandan president Mr Museveni, a US security ally who has held power in the East African country since 1986.
The ADF was established in the early 1990s by some Ugandan Muslims, who said they had been sidelined by Mr Museveni’s policies.