Nearly 40 pupils have been killed after rebels linked with the Islamic State (IS) group attacked Lhubiriha secondary school in Mpondwe,western Uganda on Friday.
According to the BBC, five militants invaded the school around 23:30 (20:30 GMT) Friday, entering dormitories, setting fire and using machetes to kill and maim the pupils.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) – based in the Democratic Republic of Congo – have been blamed and a manhunt is underway, officials said.
Uganda’s information minister said 37 students were confirmed to have been killed, but did not give their ages, as reports showed that more than 60 people are educated at the school, most of whom live there.
It was said that twenty of them were attacked with machetes and 17 of them burned to death. The Ugandan army said the rebels had also killed a school guard and three members of the local community.
Survivors said the rebels threw a bomb into the dormitory after the machete attack but it is not clear if this sparked the fire in the building which was reported earlier. Six students were also abducted to carry food that the rebels stole from the school’s stores, he added. The militants then returned across the border into the DR Congo.
Some of the bodies are said to have been badly burnt and DNA tests will need to be carried out to identify them. Eight people remain in a critical condition after the attack, BBC said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the “appalling act” and called for those behind it to be brought to justice.