The government has been put on the spot by legislators over the recent attack by suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels which saw 42 people killed in Kasese District.
This followed a statement by the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja on the attack on Lhubiriha Mpondwe Secondary School also known as Peter Hunter SS Nyabigando School where 37 students, a security guard, and four civilians were killed.
Ssempijja labeled the ADF rebels as, “a weak force that carries out such heinous acts as a diversion strategy”, to detract the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) from attacking them in the Democratic Republic of Congo and to also show the world that they are still relevant.
He added 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 ongoing 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.
However, a section of MPs especially from Kasese demanded an explanation for the absence of security personnel during the attack.
Hon. Florence Kabugho, (FDC, Kasese District) said the minister was dishonest about in his report and demanded 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?” Kabugho asked.
Kabugho noted that crossing the border from Congo to Uganda is not easy for ordinary people and therefore, found it unconventional that armed people went undetected.
Kasese Municipality MP, Hon. 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 the ground,” Kambale said.
Bukonjo County West MP, Hon. Atkins Katusabe proposed that the injured survivors be evacuated from the ill-equipped Bwera Hospital where they are currently being treated to better-equipped regional hospitals.
He added that deployment of security personnel is a matter of urgency and asked for the government to act swiftly.
Ssempijja said the government will ensure that security is beefed up and asserted that UPDF is working to secure Kasese and its border with Congo.
The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Anita Among said that even though the government is 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 Defense to go to Kasese on a fact-finding mission.