Christians Flee, Single Mother Homeless after Christmas Attacks in Eastern Uganda

Area Muslims beat congregation.

Peninah Fatuma Asiire and threatening letter from area Muslims. (Morning Star News)

Peninah Fatuma Asiire and threatening letter from area Muslims. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Muslims in eastern Uganda beat Christians at a Christmas Day service and wrecked the home of a single mother on Christmas Eve, sources said.

In predominantly Muslim Obokora village, Pallisa District, 19 masked Muslims entered a church compound chanting the jihadist slogan “Allahu Akbar” and “Away from here, this village is not for Christians but for Allah,” during a Sunday service (Dec. 25) at about 11 a.m., the congregation’s pastor, Erod Okaali, told Morning Star News.

Pastor Okaali, who was preaching at the time, and several church members fled for their lives out a back door. The assailants caught the pastor and 15 church members and thrashed them, leaving five with serious injuries including broken bones in their hands and legs, he said. The pastor’s cheeks close to his eyes were injured. The Christians received treatment at a health center in Kashebai.

Previously at an all-night Christmas Eve service, a Muslim had put his faith in Jesus Christ and had been immediately healed of illness, the convert told Morning Star News. Yasiini Mugoya said he returned home and shared the gospel of Christ with his fellow Muslims early on Christmas morning.

“They started beating me and forced me to lead them to the church compound where the Christians had prayed for me and I had received salvation and healing,” Mugoya said. “When we arrived at the church, the Muslims started attacking the church members.”

The pastor told Morning Star News that the injured Christians were in stable condition.

A year ago in the Kashebai area, a Christian father of five who supported 10 children whose families had disowned them for leaving Islam was killed on Dec. 2, 2015. 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.

Single Mother Homeless

Also in Pallisa District, Muslim extremists in Kitoikawononi village, Butebo County, pulled down the house of a single mother who had converted from Islam to Christianity, area sources said.

The area Muslims had sent several warning letters to Peninah Fatuma Asiire, the latest dated Dec. 23, she said. Written in Arabic, it read, “Be warned that if you do not return to Islam, then your days are numbered. We do not want to be associated with infidels. You have become a disgrace to Allah and the Muslim community at Kitoikawononi.”

The letter was signed by Kalifan Pangoli, Ramazan Kifuba, Nabiso Salimu and Kalimu Nkumbyanku.

Asiire said the assailants tore down her house at 6 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 24).

She and her three children are now living without shelter, a visibly distraught Asiire told Morning Star News.

The incidents are the latest in a series of anti-Christian attacks in eastern Uganda. On Dec. 8, relatives of a former Islamic teacher attacked his 60-year-old mother for becoming a Christian, wounding her head and breaking her hand, sources said. Aimuna Namutongi sustained a deep cut on her forehead. She and her son, 30-year-old Malik Higenyi, were trying to gather cassava at 10 a.m. on the homestead he had been forced to abandon in Bufuja village, Butaleja District, after Muslim relatives threatened to kill him if he returned.

Higenyi, whom Muslim relatives had beaten unconscious on Nov. 13 after he publically confessed having embraced Christianity, managed to escape the fury of those who arrived at his farm on Dec. 8 while he and his mother were trying to harvest something to eat, he told Morning Star News.

Namutongi became a Christian after visiting her ostracized, injured son on Nov. 26 and listening to his faith journey, a local source said. He has continued to receive threatening messages, he said.

On Oct. 20, Muslims in Kobolwa village, Kibuku District gutted the home of a Christian family for housing two boys who had been threatened with violence for leaving Islam.

Stephen Muganzi, 41, told Morning Star News that the two teenaged boys sought refuge with him on Oct. 16 after their parents earlier in the month learned of their conversion, began questioning them and threatened to kill them. The two boys, ages 16 and 17, had secretly become Christians nearly seven months before.

On Sept. 18, a Muslim in Budaka District beat his wife unconscious for attending a church service, sources said. Hussein Kasolo had recently married Fatuma Baluka, 21-year-old daughter of an Islamic leader in a predominantly Muslim village, undisclosed for security reasons.

On Aug. 10, a Christian woman in eastern Uganda became ill after she 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.

In Busalamu village, Luuka District, eight children from four families have taken refuge with Christians after their parents beat and disowned them for leaving Islam or animism, sources said. The new-found faith of the children, ages 9 to 16, angered their parents, who beat them in an effort to deter them from sneaking to worship services, and on June 29 the young ones took refuge at the church building, area sources 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, but Christians in eastern Uganda are suffering continual attacks by non-state figures.

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