At least 37 students were reportedly murdered June 16 at a private high school in Uganda, with assailants burning and hacking victims with machetes.
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The mostly-Christian student body at the Mpondwe Lhubiriha Secondary School was reportedly singing Gospel songs before the deadly attack at the hands of suspected Islamic State militants with The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the BBC.
A witness told the outlet students at the school, which is located near Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, usually sing before bed, but that a noise interrupted their praise.
At first, Mary Masika said she and her daughter, who live near the school, assumed the students paused their music to have some fun — but quickly realized something else was afoot.
Militants had come into the dormitories and were setting fires and killing students, and several youths were reportedly taken hostage, the BBC reported.
Some victims impacted by the violence were as young as 12, with 42 total deaths, including civilians and a security guard.
Masika said she heard one of the assailants proclaim, “Allahu Akbar,” which means, “God is greatest.” The sounds and experiences have left her terrified and unsettled.
“I heard screaming,” Masika told the outlet. “I have been unable to eat or sleep since then.”
An individual identified as a survivor told Morning Star News, an outlet covering global persecution, what unfolded when the assailants arrived on campus. A militant reportedly said, “This school is propagating Christianity in Uganda and getting support from Christians in the West – Islam should be the dominant religion in Uganda.”
Edgard Mumbere, the survivor, described how one of the boys in the dorm saw the militants were armed and informed his peers, who remained silent and started to hide.
“This prompted us to hide under the beds, and shortly we heard gunshots followed by fire on dormitories,” Mumbere said. “They threw a bomb on our dormitory, and the whole room was full of smoke, and we couldn’t breathe. Some of us managed to get out of the dormitory but were shot and managed to survive bad injuries.”
The horror didn’t end there, as Mumbere explained how he personally survived the unfathomable ordeal.
“I tried to smear blood on my face and whole body, and I pretended to be dead,” he told Morning Star News. “One came and checked and saw nothing, and that is how I survived.”
Meanwhile, local Christians have expressed fear over what unfolded, with victims’ families asking for prayer and financial support.
Be sure to pray for those impacted by this senseless and traumatizing violence.
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