Pastor, Eight Others Missing in Uganda after Muslims Beat, Rape Congregation Members

January 31, 2017 | Posted in Persecution | By

The Rev. Musa Mukenye pleads for Christians to forgive Muslim assailants . (Morning Star News)

The Rev. Musa Mukenye pleads for Christians to forgive Muslim assailants . (Morning Star News)

Throng of about 90 attacks prayer meeting of 80.

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A pastor in eastern Uganda and eight other Christians are missing two weeks after a Muslim mob attacked a church prayer meeting, locked the congregation in, beat several members and raped 15 women, sources said.

The approximately 90 Muslims broke into the evening prayer meeting of Katira Church of Uganda, in Katira village, Budaka District at about 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 and beat them with clubs and sticks, area sources said. Previously Muslims had only thrown stones at the roof of the church building to disrupt church services of the 500-member congregation, villagers said.

At the evening service, about 80 members were present, and among those who escaped before the doors were locked was a Christian who heard one of the assailants shout, “Away with the pastor who is converting our Muslims to Christianity,” a church leader said.

Pastor Moses Mutasa had been outside questioning some visitors unknown to the church when several others arrived shouting, “Away with the pastor,” and he fled, said the Rev. Musa Mukenye, who oversees several churches in the district’s Iki-iki County.

“We do not know what has happened to our pastor, Moses Mutasa,” Pastor Mukenye told a meeting of local officials, police and other security officers. “He might have been killed or has been kept hostage.”

The assailants locked about half of those in attendance inside the building, beat the men and tied them up while they raped women, said a church elder stationed outside the building who escaped. About 50 men and 30 women had attended the prayer meeting, and most of those locked inside were women, sources said.

Muslim assailants positioned outside the church building also beat men and raped women as they tried to escape, a church elder said.

“Women’s clothing was found inside and outside the church building,” he said.

The abused women received treatment at a clinic in Katira.

Police arrived about two hours after the assault began, sources said. Several church members were also injured as they were trampled in the rush to get out of the building. Much church property was damaged, especially chairs.

The assailants were Muslims from the area, which is predominantly Muslim, sources said.

When police arrived, the attackers fled. Two days later, church members found leaflets accusing the pastor of converting Muslims and threatening more attacks, villagers said.

On the morning after the attack, some church members intent on retaliating gathered, and as tensions mounted police intervened, convening a meeting with Christian, Muslim and local political leaders on Jan. 22.

Christians were planning to destroy the village mosque in order to send a message that they were not cowards, but Pastor Mukenye pleaded for them to adopt an attitude of forgiveness, and they refrained, he said.

Pastor Mukenye told Morning Star News that Christians should leave justice to authorities.

“This act is evil, and police should not relent until the attackers are arrested and charged in a court of law,” he said.

The assault was the latest in a series of incidents of persecution against Christians in eastern Uganda. On Jan. 2 Islamic extremists ambushed a church leader in eastern Uganda after a sheikh they had sent to assassinate him at a Dec. 4 church service instead became a Christian, sources said.

At a New Year’s celebration in Bugayi village in Pallisa District, Muslim relatives of a young woman who put her faith in Christ at a Christmas service coerced her into taking poison, she said. On Christmas Day, Muslims in eastern Uganda beat Christians at a worship service and wrecked the home of a single mother on Christmas Eve, sources said.

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, 2016, 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, 2016, 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 2016.

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, 2016 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.

 

© 2017 Morning Star News. Reprinted with permission.

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Former Muslim Sheikh in Eastern Uganda Attacked for Embracing Christianity

November 30, 2016 | Posted in Persecution | By

 

Malik Higenyi has been unable to return to his home. (Morning Star News)

Malik Higenyi has been unable to return to his home. (Morning Star News)

By Morning Star News East Africa Correspondent

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Muslim villagers in eastern Uganda on Nov. 23 destroyed the maize crops of a former Islamic sheikh (teacher) in eastern Uganda who was beaten unconscious after revealing his faith in Christ, sources said.

The day before his fields were destroyed, 30-year-old Malik Higenyi of Bufuja village, Butaleja District, received threatening messages on his mobile phone, he told Morning Star News.

“Be informed that you risk your life and that of the entire family if you happen to come back to your house,” read one anonymous text. “We curse you and your family. You are an apostate according to Islamic law, and you deserve to die.”

Higenyi, who along with his wife and two children secretly embraced Christ on April 16, made an open confession of faith at his church on Nov. 13. News of his confession reached a mosque in nearby Lubanga village immediately, sources said.

“Before reaching my house, suddenly I was attacked by three people,” he told Morning Star News. “They started shouting, saying I am a disgrace to the Muslim fraternity of Lubanga mosque.”

Higenyi suffered a head wound and a broken bone in his right hand.

“The attackers hit me with a blunt object, and I fell down and did not know what happened from there,” he said. “I just found myself at Bufuja health center.”

Relatives ostracized him, and Local County 1 Chairman Walubi Mailadi supported their opposition to his conversion, sources said. Fearing attacks, he and his family have been unable to return to their thatched-roof home.

The family received Christ when a local pastor (name withheld for security reasons) visited his home and discipled him the following months.

Since Higenyi’s public confession, Muslims from Lubanga mosque have been holding meetings to discuss his punishment, and after Friday prayer meetings they have issued harsh statements against apostates, sources said.

Higenyi and his family are now without a home and have taken refuge at an undisclosed location.

“Please pray for Higenyi’s family at this difficult time, for they are emotionally troubled,” the pastor told Morning Star News.

The attacks are the latest in a series of aggressions against Christians in eastern Uganda. 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.

© 2016 Morning Star News. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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Youths in Eastern Uganda Pay Heavy Price for Turning to Christ

August 5, 2016 | Posted in Persecution | By

arabic letter nNAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Eight children from four families have taken refuge with Christians in eastern Uganda after their parents beat and disowned them for leaving Islam or animism, sources said.n

In another village in eastern Uganda, a high school student is recovering from a serious head injury inflicted by the Muslim father of a young woman he led to Christ, area residents said.

The eight children in Busalamu village, Bukanga Sub-County, Luuka District came to Christ after visits from pastor Brian Mukisa, 29, who began Power Gates Church earlier this year as people put their faith in Jesus Christ. 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.

The pastor on June 15 had moved the worship site 10 kilometers (six miles) away to a temporary structure, providing the children transport to services, after the angry parents led by a local mosque leader destroyed the church’s initial, rented building on May 25, sources said.

The church lost chairs, tables and musical instruments when Muslims led by Bavakuno Ibra, Kalemba Farouk and the mosque leader, identified only as 48-year-old Imam Jengo, destroyed the first building.

“Your church activities will not be tolerated in this area,” one of them told the pastor, he said. “If you do not leave our village, then we shall soon come for your life.”

Pastor Mukisa had made a partial payment on land for a church building in the village when the Muslim parents wrested control of it by offering a higher price to the seller, also a Muslim, sources said. The seller returned Pastor Mukisa’s partial payment to him.

The children, whose names are withheld for security reasons, are 9, 11, 13 and 14, and there are two 15-year-olds and two 16-year-olds. Some of them have yet to fully recover from injuries sustained in the beatings and do not have funds for medical care, the pastor said. Disowned by their parents, they are staying with various church members but lack fees for attending school.

“The parents have totally disowned them as infidels,” Pastor Mukisa said. “They need prayers to come to terms with the separation from parents for choosing Christ.”

The burden on the small church is heavy, and he asked for prayer for the church.

“Busalamu is a Muslim stronghold, and any church presence here will meet with strong resistance,” he said. “We are worshipping in a temporary church structure, and we also appeal for financial assistance in assisting both the persecuted young children and our young upcoming church.”

Wounded High School Student

In Iganga District, a 20-year-old high school student is still suffering throbbing pain after the father of a young woman he led to Christ threw a metal object at his head.

Waiswa Sowedi, who secretly put his faith in Christ two years ago, led 18-year-old Sera Muzamiru to faith in Christ earlier this year in Nabidongha village, Nakigo Sub-County. In early June, Sowedi was on his way back from a church service when he decided to check on Muzamiru. He found her father, 40-year-old Makanika Muzamiru, beating her for befriending Sowedi, whom he called a pagan and an enemy of Islam.

“I tried to persuade her father to stop beating his daughter and explained to him that my intention of passing by his home was to assist her on educational issues,” Sowedi told Morning Star News. “He could not listen to this, and instead he became more furious and threw a sharp metallic object right at my forehead that penetrated very deep.”

The young woman’s father told Sowedi, “I would rather kill you than let you mislead my daughter to a wrong faith,” he said.

Sowedi was rushed to Iganga Main Hospital, where doctors declined to tend to the injury because of its severity, as the object was still lodged in his head. He was transferred to a hospital in Mulago, where he spent a week under various treatments before the removal of the object. Doctors operated the second week after he regained some consciousness, and he was put on drugs costing the equivalent of $10 per day, which he said was more than he can afford.

After his release from the hospital, Sowedi was unable to return to his Muslim parents’ home as his father forbade him to live there, and Sowedi lacked funds to return to school. He has taken shelter with a relative, and Muzamiru also has taken refuge away from her home.

Sowedi’s father, 45-year-old Muhamood Kayaga, suspected his Muslim wife might have known about their son’s conversion and took a second wife as a kind of contingency for himself and a reproach of his original wife, sources said. Kayaga and Makanika Muzamiru are devoted Muslims from Mohamood Mosque Nakavule, led by an imam identified only as Sheik Mayaye. The Muslim fathers have informed the local council chairperson, Muhamood Fundi, that a local church (undisclosed for security reasons) was influencing their children to change the religion, sources said.

Both Sowedi and Sera Muzamiru said they are in serious crises, with Sowedi still in pain from the head injury, medication farther out of reach and prospects for continuing his education unknown.

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.

© 2016 Morning Star News.Reprinted with permission.  

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Christian Killed in Eastern Uganda after Religious Discussion with Muslims

June 22, 2016 | Posted in Persecution | By

arabic letter n 250NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A Christian in eastern Uganda who had received death threats from Muslims after a religious discussion was killed on June 4, sources said.

The body of Yokannah Zirinkuma of Kasasira village, Kibuku District, was found in a pool of blood in nearby Kadama village, near the home of the primary suspect, an area source said. Zirinkuma was 50.

Well known in the area for evangelistic preaching in a marketplace by which several Muslims came to faith in Christ, Zirinkuma two weeks prior had engaged Muslims in Kasasira village in open debate that became heated. He later received a threatening letter from unknown Muslims.

“You should stop misleading Muslims, and if you fail to adhere to this, then you will face the judgment sword from Allah,” a letter in Arabic warned him. A former Muslim (name withheld) whom Zirinkuma had led to Christ interpreted the letter for him, the convert told Morning Star News.

The evening before his death, June 3, Zirinkuma attended a seminar at Kadama Church of Uganda, which ended at 5 p.m.

“Yokannah mentioned to me that three Muslims from his village followed him till he entered the church for the seminar, and that he did not know where they went after that,” pastor Samuel Keffa, who led the seminar, told Morning Star News. “He looked fearful for his life.”

After the seminar, a Muslim from Kadama village, Ibrahim Mwede, approached Zirinkuma as he was sitting and talking with the pastor. Mwede asked the pastor if he could interrupt to talk with Zirinkuma about his cassava business, and they began discussing it. Eventually Mwede hinted to the pastor that some villagers had some cassava they wanted to sell, and he asked if the pastor would mind if Zirinkuma went with him to talk to them about buying the cassava, which has an edible tuberous root.

The body of Yokannah Zirinkuma. (Morning Star News)

The body of Yokannah Zirinkuma. (Morning Star News)

Mwede told the pastor and Zirinkuma that he could spend the night at his house, as the evening was getting late, Pastor Keffa said. An elder in the Kasasira Church of Uganda, Zirinkuma went away with Mwede.

A church elder who is a neighbor of Mwede heard some commotion at about 3 a.m. near Mwede’s house, along with an unusual cry, Pastor Keffa said. Another neighbor told the church elder that someone had been killed and the body dumped a few meters from Mwede’s house.

Christians rushed to the site and found Zirinkuma’s body lying in a pool of blood, the pastor said. After they reported the case to police, officers arrested Mwede for interrogation.

A police officer told Morning Star News that Mwede has been charged with murder and has been remanded to jail for one year awaiting trial.

The body was taken to Kadama Hospital, where Dr. Fred Awiny conducted an autopsy. The autopsy concluded that Zirinkuma’s body showed signs consistent with murder – several injury marks suggesting a struggle, and ligature marks on the neck indicating he was strangled.

Zirinkuma, a widower, is survived by two daughters, ages 22 and 17.

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.

Mother Attacked

In another part of eastern Uganda, an Islamic sheikh (teacher) beat his wife with a blunt instrument after their 6-year-old daughter told him how she had been healed at a church service, sources said.

After finding out that his wife and their seven children had become Christians at a church service the previous day, 44-year-old Siraji Basalirwa attacked his wife on May 29 in Bulyangada village, Wairama parish, Mpungwe Sub-County, Mayuge District, sources said.

Siida Namaganda, 38, and her children visited Fountain of Living Water Church in Kasitaime on May 28 for special prayers for sick 6-year-old Kuraisi Waiswa. A pastor prayed for the girl, and she was miraculously healed, area sources said. Overjoyed, the mother and children, ages 3 to 14 including two sets of twins ages 9 and 12, decided to be followers of Jesus.

When the healed girl told her father the next day that they had attended the church, he became furious and started to beat his wife with a blunt object, area sources said. The children rushed to help their mother.

“There was loud screaming, and we rushed to Siraji’s house and found his wife bleeding,” a neighbor who requested anonymity told Morning Star News. “Her husband left for a nearby mosque. His wife told us about the healing of her child in the church, and how this attack had caused her pain.”

The neighbor took Namaganda and the children to the church site before her husband returned, but the sheikh and five other angry Muslims arrived looking for them, the pastor said.

“I saw them outside the church gate and sensed danger for the new converts,” he said. “I told the church guard not to open the gate, and after two hours they left. Early the next day, I sent her and her children to some church members.”

The mother and children are in hiding in another village. An area source said they are living in a tattered house with a thatched roof that leaks.

“The children are now unable to go to school,” the source said. “They need prayers, moral support as well as financial support as their situation looks very pathetic.”

Earlier this month, the woman’s husband sold their land and decided to buy property elsewhere, sources said.

© 2016 Morning Star News. Reprinted with permission.  

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Muslims in Uganda Kill Christians’ Livestock, Demolish Church Building

Workers sift through rubble of demolished church building in Nalugondo, Uganda. (Morning Star News)

April 26, 2016 | Posted in Persecution | By

Workers sift through rubble of demolished church building in Nalugondo, Uganda. (Morning Star News)

Workers sift through rubble of demolished church building in Nalugondo, Uganda. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Muslims in a village in eastern Uganda last week killed Christians’ pigs and tore down their church building, sources said.

A Muslim mob demolished the building of the 450-member Nalugondo Church of Uganda building at about midnight on April 12, shouting, “We cannot live together with neighbors who are infidels. We have to fight for the cause of Allah,” according to area sources. Nalugondo village is near Bugade, Mayuge District, 93 miles east of Kampala.

Two days earlier, sources said, a group of Muslims slaughtered a church lay leader’s pigs, a key source of income. Singing praises to Allah and shouting, “Allah only is to be worshipped, and Muhammad is his prophet,” the group led by area Muslim Kambo Daudo killed Samuel Kijali’s pigs at 4 p.m. on April 10, as Kijali’s wife watched helplessly.

A few weeks before the slaughter, Kijali had received text messages on his phone saying that church members must stop raising pigs.

“Let this be known to your church members that pigs are extremely unholy and an abomination before Allah, very outrageous and shameful,” one text read. “They are haram [forbidden] and unlawful as our holy Quran does prohibit them.”

Muslims also sent a text message to church member Kamaala Yokosani – “We are soon coming for the heads of your pigs” – before killing eight of his pigs on April 5, sources said. Yokosani was elected chairman of the Bugade zone in May 2015, and then later he began raising pigs.

A Christian witness said a Muslim neighbour of Yokosani, 60-year-old Kupoota Amisi, went to his home with about 15 other Muslims.

“I saw Amisi with a group of people enter Kamaala’s farm with knives, only to hear the following day that his pigs had been killed,” the witness said.

About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. Muslims have come to outnumber Christians in Nalugondo village.

“It is quite difficult to resist these militant Muslims, because they have outnumbered us the Christians and are accusing us that we are defiling their faith,” Kijali said.

The church’s 450 members are now without shelter as the rainy season descends, sources said. Musical instruments, more than 500 plastic chairs and other property weredestroyed, a church leader said.

 

© 2016 Morning Star News. Reprinted with permission

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