NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – While Muslim villagers continue to persecute Christians in eastern Uganda, Islamists last month killed a Christian in the western part of the country, sources said.
The blood-stained body of a convert from Islam, 32-year-old Enoch Shaban, was found hanging from a tree in Mbarara District. An area resident in Kitebero Cell, Katete Ward, Nyamitanga Division said that on Aug. 10 at about 8 p.m. he heard Shaban shouting for help after another man said, “We have warned you several times of being a disgrace to our religion, and you have not taken seriously our warnings.”
A source in Mbarara told Morning Star News that Shaban had told him of area Muslims threatening to kill him.
“Two weeks before meeting his death, he had mentioned several messages on his phone warning him to recant the Christian faith and return to Islam,” the source said.
Shaban, a member of the Church of Uganda, appears to have been struck with a metallic object on his forehead and, after death, been hung with rope from a tree, according to local newspaper Kamunye. The suspects are area residents who have not been seen since the murder.
His body was found a little over a mile from the shop where he worked, on the route to his home. The morning before his death, Muslims were reportedly seen loitering conspicuously around his shop. The area is predominantly Muslim.
A police officer in-charge of criminal investigations at the Mbarara police station, Afande Taban Chiriga, reportedly said he is optimistic about finding the suspects.
On the same day Shaban was killed, a Christian woman in eastern Uganda was poisoned, she said.
Aisha Twanza, a 25-year-old convert from Islam, ingested an insecticide put into her food after family members upbraided her for becoming a Christian, she told Morning Star News. She and her husband, who live in Kakwangha village in Budaka District, put their faith in Christ in January.
The couple had moved to Kakwangha from Kedenge village, Iki-iki County, after relatives there threatened to kill them for leaving Islam, she said.
Twanza said she had hurried to Kedenge on Aug. 10 after relatives told her that her mother was seriously ill, but that she arrived to find she was not sick.
“I was questioned about my new faith in Christ, and I could deny this,” she told Morning Star News. “They were very disappointed with me for deserting Islam.”
They later served her food, she said.
“After I ate the food, they allowed me to go back to Kakwangha,” she said. “Reaching home, I started feeling stomach upset that continued persisting. Soon the pain intensified, and my husband rushed me to Mbale hospital, then I was taken to Pallisa, where poisoning was discovered after several tests.”
A doctor at Olaja & Sons Nursing Home in Kabole, Pallisa District, told Morning Star News that Twanza ingested diazinon, an insecticide that in high amounts can cause the symptoms she suffered: severe stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting.
Weak and unable to stand, she was treating the poisoning with medication when Morning Star News visited her.
“I never expected my parents to do such a thing to me, but I thank God for saving me and healing,” she said. “Now I am getting better.”
About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another, but Christians in eastern Uganda are suffering continual attacks by non-state figures.
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