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Pope Francis prays for students killed in Kasese attack

Pope Francis

Vatican, Italy | THE INDEPENDENT | Pope Francis has expressed his condolences and prayed for the students who lost their lives in a brutal attack at Lhubiriha Secondary School in Kasese district. The attack, which occurred on Friday night, and resulted in the tragic deaths of at least 42 people including students and non-students, shocked the nation and garnered international condemnation.

According to Vatican news, Pope Francis, who was recently discharged from Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, dedicated his thoughts to the young victims of this horrific assault. During his weekly Angelus prayer at Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican City, he stated, “I pray for the young student victims of the brutal attack against a school in western Uganda.” The Pope called for prayers for peace and urged the faithful worldwide to work toward peace in regions afflicted by tension and conflict.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the African Union, and the European Union have also condemned the attack. Investigations into the attack are currently underway, and security agencies have identified two potential leads. The first lead suggests that the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) which has been declared a terrorist organization, may have orchestrated the attack.

The ADF has been active in the region for several years, and the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) launched an offensive against them under Operation Shuja. However, a new line of inquiry has emerged, with Minister of Education Janet Kataha Museveni stating that the attack may be linked to ownership disputes involving Peter Hunter, a Canadian NGO, and undisclosed individuals.

Security agencies have confirmed that comprehensive investigations are being conducted, considering all possibilities. The incident at Lhubiriha Secondary School is not the first of its kind in Uganda. It has revived painful memories of a previous attack that took place in June 1998 when the ADF carried out a similar assault on Kichwamba Technical Institute near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

During that attack, 80 students lost their lives as they were burned to death in their dormitories, and over 100 students were abducted by the ADF.

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