KAMPALA – Legislators on Thursday demanded that government gives a detailed explanation regarding the recent suspected Allied Democratic Forces – ADF rebels’ attacks on a Kasese school – an incident that left more than 50 people including students killed.
The demand followed Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja statement on the attack on Lhubiriha Mpondwe SS aka Peter Hunter SS Nyabigando School where 37 students, a security guard and unknown number of civilians were killed.
Ssempijja categorised the ADF rebels as, ‘a weak force that carries out such heinous acts as a diversion strategy,’ to detract the Uganda People’s Defence Force -UPDF from attacking them in the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC and to also show the world that they are still relevant.
He added that the attack was well planned as each of the 10 terrorists entered the country individually and not as a group.
Ssempijja, however said investigations were on-going to establish and get answers as to why they were not seen by both citizens and security and why there was no identification or suspicion of strange persons in the area.
But the explanation attracted uproar from a section of MPs, especially from Kasese, who demanded an explanation for the absence of security personnel during the attack.
Florence Kabugho – the Kasese District woman representative said the minister was dishonest in his report – demanding the whereabouts of the security officers at the time of the attack.
“You need to tell the truth about the matter so that your juniors can learn that they have been sleeping on duty. You just said that you cannot allow the enemy to cross the border, how did the enemy cross?” wondered Kabugho – who noted further that crossing the border from Congo to Uganda wasn’t easy for ordinary people and therefore, found it unconventional that armed people went undetected.
Kasese Municipality MP, Ferigo Kambale demanded swift government intervention by increasing UPDF deployment in the district.
“A Major General, commanding our forces in Congo informed us that they heard about the attack when they were in Congo and they attempted to come back to rescue our people in vain because they could not quickly cross the border. It is therefore, my request that the UPDF considers serious deployment on ground,” said Kambale.
Bukonjo County West MP, Atkins Katusabe proposed that the injured survivors be evacuated from the ill equipped Bwera Hospital where they are currently undergoing treatment to a better equipped hospital.
He argued that deployment of security personnel was a matter of urgency – tasking government for swift intervention.
Ssempijja promised that government would ensure security with the UPDF securing Kasese and its border with Congo.
The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among said that even though the government was not to blame for the attacks, they ought to encourage the security forces to be extra vigilant especially in areas with rebel activity.
Among also demanded a fresh statement on the captives taken by the rebels, the injured victims and security status.
She also directed the Committee on Defence to go to Kasese on a fact-finding mission.