Bundibugyo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Learners at schools neighbouring parts of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC in Bundibugyo District have shunned classes after attacks by suspected Allied Democratic Forces-ADF rebels in Nobili Trading Centre. Nobili is less than five kilometres away from Busunga border point in Bundibugyo.
School administrators say that few learners have turned up after rebels on Wednesday night killed dozens of people and caused thousands to flee into Uganda. They say many learners and parents fear that the group might overrun schools with intentions to abduct the learners.
Geoffrey Friday, a teacher at Lamia Primary school says the school has registered less than 160 pupils out of 5the total enrollment of 500. He attributed this to fear among their parents. He adds that the school had many pupils from Congo whose families have also been displaced following the ADF attacks.
Friday however says that the school has enough protection from UPDF and is sure there is no cause of alarm.
At Bubandi Seed Secondary School the enrollment was very low on Friday with only 170 learners present out of 356 registered on Wednesday.
George Edwin Akumba, the headteacher says some of the students and teachers of the school come from neighbouring DRC and they have since fled their homes for safety. He adds that even those who have are still in school are uncertain of the situation.
Akumba wants security personnel in the district to mobilize and assure parents and learners so of their safety.
At Bundumulinga Primary School in the neighbouring Nyahuka Town Council, only 789 attended school on Friday from the 1030 pupils. Lawrence Mpabaisi the school headteacher, says that the sound of gunfire scared the community and many parents are still worried about the safety of their children.
Katembo Samson, a parent of Lamia Primary School says his two sons were kept home to help in receiving their relatives who were running away from Congo. Amos Asiimwe Banji, the District Resident Commissioner says there is no cause for alarm and they are mobilizing parents to return to school.
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, six people were on Saturday killed in a suspected Allied Democratic Forces -ADF rebels attack in the villages of Tandika and Maliki in Beni-Mbau sector of Beni territory North Kivu province,.
According to locals, the rebels emerged while armed with guns and machetes and started killing people.
Georges Kivaya, president of the Beni-Mbau sector says that the rebels shot randomly at people while hacking others. In the process, six people died on the spot and they include two women.
Kivaya also says that other unspecified numbers of locals were kidnapped by the rebels. He suspects that these could be the same rebels who carried out another attack in Mukoko on National Road 4 on Friday night and killed three people. He also says that the attack has raised fear among locals with the suspicion that the rebels will return anytime and calls for government security deployment in the area.
Colonel Charles Ehuta Omeonga, the military administrator of Beni confirmed the attack but argued that the situation is under control.
On Wednesday night last week, ADF rebels also attacked the town of Nobili in the east of Beni territory on the border with Uganda and killed five people, according to David Muwaze, member of civil society and coordinator of Action for the Defense of Human Rights (ADDH) in the area.
The rebels also attacked neighboring Kamango and Njapande areas and killed dozens. The attack forced locals to flee to Uganda through Bundibugyo District.
The presence of Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo -FARDC and Uganda Peoples Defense Forces -UPDF soldiers in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the arrest of some ADF leaders have not stopped the rebels from continuously carrying out surprise attacks.