Muslim Extremists in Eastern Uganda Kill Christian Policeman, Kidnap Three Children

Bloodshed continues for converts in heavily Islamic region.

Police collect the body of Ismail Kuloba. (Morning Star News)

Police collect the body of Ismail Kuloba in Komodo, eastern Uganda. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremists in eastern Uganda on Tuesday (Dec. 8) set a deadly trap for a Christian policeman who had left Islam, and the next day other hard-line Muslims kidnapped three children from another convert in a nearby village, sources said.

More than 20 Muslim extremists in the Komodo area of Kadama Sub-county, Kibuku District, killed officer Ismail Kuloba at about 4 p.m. after he responded to an urgent call to intervene in a supposed land dispute between warring parties, an area Christian told Morning Star News. Kuloba was 43.

Stationed in Kagunu, Kuloba and three other policemen went to the site of the alleged dispute in nearby Komodo, but when they arrived they found no parties in conflict over land, only a group of Islamists who surrounded them, said the source, whose name is withheld for security reasons. Some in the group knew Kuloba personally, and some were angry at him for leading other Muslims to Christ in the area, he said.

“They saw that Ismail had become an apostate,” he said. “Ismail had been doing patrols in this particular village, as well as attending Dodoi Pentecostal Church, which is about five kilometers [three miles] from Kagunu police post. Sometimes he made arrests in this particular village where the attack occurred.”

One of the assailants, Mudangha Kasimu, threw a stone that hit Kuloba in the forehead, he said.

“Ismail fell down, and the same man picked up his gun and fired two gunshots at his head, and he died there while the other Muslims were shouting, ‘Allah Akbar [God is greater],’” he said. A local Muslim who lives close by said, ‘You converted our people to Christianity, and now your time has come for you to receive the punishment of Allah.’”

Kasimu and another Muslim extremist took the guns the policemen were carrying and retreated to Kabweri, about three kilometers from Komodo. The source said the Muslims involved in the attack are from Kabweri and Dodoi, and others are residents of Komodo, which has a population that is about 70 percent Muslim. It was not clear if the other policemen tried to stop the assault on Kuloba.

“We need prayers, as the Muslims are out to destroy people who converted to Christ in this area, especially those of us who have sacrificed to share the love of Christ to our fellow Muslims,” the source said. “We shall continue becoming the voice of the persecuted church, and the work of God will eventually emerge victorious against the evil forces of darkness.”

When Christians from outside the area heard about the killing, some set Kasimu’s house on fire in retaliation, the source said.

“Tension is high in the area, because it appears the Muslims plan to retaliate,” he said.

Area Christians are in shock at the killing of Ismail, he added. An hour after the deadly assault, police arrived to take Kuloba’s body.

About 12 miles east in Kabuna, near Budaka in Kaderuna District, a group of Muslim men from Palissa on Wednesday (Dec. 9) kidnapped three children of Badiru Madengho, a Christian convert from Islam, sources said.

Madengho, 42, arrived at his home in Kabuna Sub-country, Kabuna parish, at 10 p.m. to find 5-year-old Shakira Nabukwasi, 7-year-old Amuza Gessa and 10-year-old Musitafa Wagti missing. He immediately reported the absence to Local Council One in Kabuna Sub-county. He also reported it to the Budaka Central Police Station, where officers filed a case under reference number SD 44/11/12/2015 and are investigating.

“I have had sleepless nights trying to trace my kids, but all in vain,” Madengho said. “I know the Muslims are doing this to frustrate my hope in Christ and to make me return to Islam. I know God will answer our prayer, and I will get back my three children, since my only hope is in Jesus.”

An area source said a 14-year-old boy from Kabuna, Karami Hassan, was with Madengho’s three children when they were abducted near their home.

“Yesterday [Dec.13] I interrogated Karami, who told me of a group of Muslims from Palissa who were looking for Badiru Madengho,” he said, adding that the boy led them to Badir’s children.

The source said he will report the boy’s account to police, who are searching for the kidnappers.

“The boy will have to go on the record about the incident, and possibly this lead will help get the kidnappers,” he said.

The incidents were the latest in a series of attacks on Christians in eastern Uganda. Outside of Kabeshai, near Palissa, a Christian father of five who supported 10 children whose families had disowned them for leaving Islam was killed on Dec. 2. One of three men who attacked Patrick Ojangole reproached him for failing to heed a warning to cease his Christian activities before the Christian was killed, said a witness who was with Ojangole and escaped. Ojangole was 43.

The father of a young Muslim woman in east Uganda on Nov. 12 tried to beat her to death after she became a Christian, but community leaders intervened and limited him to disowning her, sources said. Kibida Muyemba learned that his 21-year-old daughter, Namusisi Birye, had put her faith in Christ at an evangelistic campaign held that day in Nandere village, Kadama Sub-county, Kibuku District, 41 kilometers (25 miles) west of Mbale, church leaders told Morning Star News. Birye and a man in the traditional dress of an imam confessed openly to receiving Christ, they said, and angry Muslims cut the event short.

On Oct. 19 Muslims in Kalampete village, Kibuku District who were angry at a Christian for leaving Islam killed his wife, a month after his brother was killed for the same reason.

Mamwikomba Mwanika, mother of three adult children and five others ranging in age from 17 to 9, died en route to a hospital after Muslims unknown to her dragged her from her home at about 9 p.m. and assaulted her, survivors said.

Her husband’s brother, Samson Nfunyeku, was killed in the village on Sept. 23 after flaring tempers cut short a religious debate he’d had with Islamic scholars.

In Nsinze village, Namutumba District, a Muslim beat and left for dead his wife and 18-year-old son on Aug. 11 after learning they had converted to Christianity, area sources said. Issa Kasoono beat and strangled his wife, Jafalan Kadondi, but she survived, said a source who requested anonymity. He said other relatives joined Kasoono in beating her and their two sons, Ibrahim Kasoono, 18, and Ismael Feruza, 16, though the younger son managed to escape with only bruises on his arm.

The wife of a former sheikh was poisoned to death on June 17 after she and her husband put their faith in Christ in Nabuli village, Kibuku District. Namumbeiza Swabura was the mother of 11 children, including a 5-month-old baby.

In Kiryolo, Kaderuna Sub-County, Budaka District on March 28, five Muslims gang-raped the 17-year-old daughter of a pastor because the church leader ignored their warnings that he stop worship services, she said.

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.

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(Names corrected with updated information on July 25, 2018)


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