Young Woman in Uganda Killed after Accepting Christ

Muslim stepmother suspected of poisoning her.

Location of Bugiri District, Uganda. (Map data ©2020 Google)

Location of Bugiri District, Uganda. (Map data ©2020 Google)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A 23-year-old Muslim woman in eastern Uganda who converted to Christianity on Sept. 18 was poisoned to death that night, sources said.

Namata Habiiba attended a church service on Sept. 18 at the invitation of a friend in Wakawaka village, Bugiri District and put her faith in Christ, the friend said.

Habiiba, who lived with her Muslim stepmother after her parents were killed in a vehicle accident in 2019, returned home from the church service with her friend, and her stepmother asked why she had returned so late. Habiiba told her she had attended a church service and converted to Christianity, causing her stepmother, Namu Sauya, to stop talking to her, according to the friend, whose name is withheld for security reasons.

Sauya prepared and served food for them and then left the room, said the friend, who was fasting that day and did not eat. Within minutes, Habiiba started complaining of severe stomach pain and began to vomit, the friend said.

The friend shouted for Sauya, but there was no response, she said. Soon neighbors arrived, but Sauya had disappeared, Habiiba’s friend said.

They rushed Habiiba to a hospital in Bugiri, where a doctor gave her medication, but she soon died, the friend said. A postmortem, she said, determined she had died from ingesting rat poison.

Habiiba leaves behind a 3-year-old child, an area resident said. The father is a married Muslim who had planned to take her as his second wife, the source said.

Local officials and other villagers condemned the killing and have undertaken a search for Sauya, who remains missing, the resident said.

Habiiba’s body was laid to rest on Saturday (Sept. 24) in Musubi village, where her father was buried.

Mother Beaten for Her Faith

In central Uganda’s Bamusuta village, Kiboga District, a Muslim beat and left his wife after learning she had converted to Christianity.

Falida Nazziwa, 42, on Sept. 10 attended an all-night prayer vigil at an undisclosed church in Kiboga town while her husband was away in his work as a truck driver, she said. A secret Christian, Nazziwa expected her husband, Saidi Mudogo, to return late in the day on Sept. 11, but he had returned home when she arrived that morning, she said.

“In the morning as I went back home, I found my husband very furious on the compound, and he asked about where I slept,” Nazziwa told Morning Star News. “I told him the truth that I had gone for an overnight prayer in the church. After hearing the words ‘overnight prayer,’ he just jumped on my neck shouting, ‘Prayers, not in my house,’ and started beating and strangling me while shouting, ‘Allah akbar [God is greater]! Kafir, kafir [infidel]!’”

Two men heard Nazziwa’s cries and rushed over to rescue her, but Mudogo chased her and her two younger children away, and they took refuge at an undisclosed location, she said. The couple has three other older children who were away at the time.

The church pastor, unnamed for security reasons, said Nazziwa has received treatment at a medical clinic in Kiboga. She was taking medication for swelling and had internal injuries causing severe pain, he said.

“The husband has disappeared since then, but we shall get him,” the pastor told Morning Star News. “I have reported the incident at the Kiboga police station. We hope the assailant will be arrested and justice given for the ailing mother.”

The attacks were the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

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