At least 11 bodies of students who were killed during the attack by suspected ADF rebels on Mpondwe – Lhubiriha Secondary in Kasese district have been handed over to their families more than 10 days after the attack.
They were handed over to their families on Tuesday afternoon after they were killed on June 16, 2023 by the insurgents linked to the rebel group who crossed to Uganda from DR Congo and killed 37 students at school and six community members.
However, 17 of the deceased students were burnt beyond recognition, prompting the government to carry DNA tests to ascertain their identities in order for them to be handed to their rightful families. Samples were taken from some parents who claimed that their children were still missing.
On Monday, the Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga during a press conference in Kampala revealed that the security agencies had matched and successfully identified only eleven out of the 17 bodies that had been taken for DNA testing.
Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Andrew Mubiru, who is the Director Forensic Services at the Uganda Police Force, led the team to deliver bodies. He stressed that for the six bodies, their samples did not match with those of the parents, adding that police would take more samples from other relatives in order to identify the bodies.
While handing over the bodies to the families, Mubiru advised the relatives to bury the deceased immediately today, arguing that they had taken a long time and have since started going bad.
Mubiru revealed that they are now tasked with identifying seven bodies after one other body was discovered by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces in its pursuit for the ADF insurgents in the jungles of the DR Congo. He appealed to more relatives, especially the mothers, to go to Bwera police station and take more samples for DNA tests.
Mr. James Sibasi and his family members, who had braved the scorching afternoon sun to receive the body of Felix Mumbere, said whereas they have now received the body, the long wait has strained the family both emotionally and financially.
He appealed to the government for support in meeting some of the expenses incurred at burial and during the long wait for their son to be identified.
However, Mr. Aganatia Bwambale Syaipuma from Kighenge village in Kitabu Sub County, noted that they were still waiting for the body of their child, a one Rogers Muhindo who was not identified and his coffin was not among those already identified.
Mr. Ronald Mumbere, the elder brother to Surprise Yunasi who is also still missing, said they have lost hopes of getting the body of their brother whether dead or alive since the samples that were taken previously failed to match.
The Minister of State for ICT and National Guidance, Mr. Godfrey Baluku Kabbyanga Kime courted the families whose children are yet to be identified to remain calm and cooperate with the security agencies by providing more blood samples to ascertain which families they belong to.