Christian Girl in Uganda Who Fled Beating by Muslim Uncle Mysteriously Dies

Muslim relatives in search of convert arrive at her hospital day before her death.

Namwase Aisha. (Morning Star News)

Namwase Aisha. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 12, 2015 (Morning Star News) – A 16-year-old girl in Uganda who fled from a Muslim uncle who beat her for becoming a Christian mysteriously died on Sunday (March 8) after relatives searching for her discovered her whereabouts the previous day.

Namwase Aisha died at 5:30 p.m. at Iganga Hospital in eastern Uganda, where she had been recovering from malaria after being admitted on March 2. Sources said a doctor had also determined she needed further treatment for a head injury suffered on Feb. 1, when her uncle beat her and her sister with a wooden rod and locked them in a room for nearly three days without food.

“On Saturday [March 7], Muslim relatives discovered her location and visited the hospital after tracing her whereabouts for some weeks,” an area source told Morning Star News. “Aisha then was responding very well to the medication, but on Sunday morning, after receiving morning medication, she became restless, and we wondered what could have happened to her.”

Her condition continued to deteriorate until her death, said a pastor caring for her.

“We suspect that the death of our sister Aisha could be related to the medication given the morning of Sunday, which has connection with the arrival of the Muslim relatives on Saturday,” said the area source, who like the pastor cannot have their names published for security reasons.

“We suspect that the death of our sister Aisha could be related to the medication given the morning of Sunday, which has connection with the arrival of the Muslim relatives on Saturday,” said the area source, who like the pastor cannot have their names published for security reasons.

Hospital personnel first told church leaders that Aisha died from an overdose of medication, sources said. Later they told the church leaders that she died from heart failure resulting from a kind of depression that could be related to the injuries she had suffered, the sources said.

A doctor who would not disclose his name told Morning Star News he was uncertain about the cause of death.

“We cannot rule out an overdose of medication because of the swelling of Aisha’s body, which could  have led to heart failure,” he said. “When the girl was admitted to the hospital she, looked traumatized.”

Church leaders considered filing a case against the hospital but felt it would lead to more friction with Muslims, they said.

It was unclear what contact the Muslim relatives had with Aisha. Two relatives spoke with her on Saturday and then left, but church leaders said they could not establish what the relatives told her because she was so unsettled the following day.

Aisha received a Christian burial near the area to which she had fled on Tuesday (March 10).

“As we took Aisha to the burial site, her body was swollen and smelling of drugs, which is an indication that her body could have been injected with unknown drug,” the pastor told Morning Star News by phone.

The church leaders notified Aisha’s 14-year-old sister, Nabagabana Fatuma, of her death on Monday (March 9).

“It is painful that my sister is dead, but I know I will meet her again,” Fatuma told Morning Star News by phone.

Their uncle, Kakongoka Ahamadah, had taken custody of the sisters after the death of their father five years ago. The girls’ father had retained custody after divorcing their mother two years before he died, sources said.

On Feb. 1 the girls had put their trust in Christ while visiting a church, and when they told their uncle about it that evening, he beat them and locked them in a room at their home in Nasenye village, Pallisa District, because they had converted to Christianity, sources said. Aisha sustained a swollen cheek and an injury to her left leg, while Fatuma’s right arm was injured, sources said.

While the uncle was away buying food in a nearby town on Feb. 3, a friend of his heard the children crying and broke the padlock, sources said. The girls feared telling the friend, also a Muslim, what had happened, so they said only that their uncle was punishing them for going out without permission. When he left to get their uncle, they fled.

Aisha told Morning Star News last month that she and her sister had been attending classes at an Islamic school (madrassa) where they had been taught about jinn, or supernatural creatures from another world, which they said were oppressing them. They went to a worship gathering at a church whose name is withheld for security reasons and accepted Christ.

The two girls had been disowned by their uncle and other relatives.

“We need prayers especially for Fatuma,” the area source said. “Fatuma is still traumatized.”

The source said he was caring for many other converts from Islam whose families have kicked them out of their homes, and he requested prayer for them and for financial support in order to send Fatuma to school, atlhough at present she is too traumatized to attend classes. Those wishing to help can contact [email protected] for referral to parties who can assist.

“Though Aisha has left us, we know she has gone to be with the Lord,” the pastor said.

(Updated March 13)

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