Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St Peter s square during the Angelus prayer in Vatican on June 18, 2023. AFP
"I pray for the young student victims of the brutal attack against a school in western Uganda," the pope said during his weekly Angelus prayer at Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican City.
The massacre occurred overnight from Friday to Saturday at Lhubiriha high school in Mpondwe, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
Ugandan army and police officials have blamed members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist militia affliated with the Islamic State group.
The ADF, originally insurgents in Uganda, gained a foothold in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s and has since been accused of killing thousands of civilians, becoming the deadliest of scores of outlawed forces in the deeply troubled region.
The attack on this school is the deadliest in Uganda since the double attack in Kampala in 2010 which killed 76 people during a raid claimed by the Islamist group Shebab based in Somalia.