NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – The uncle of two Muslim girls in eastern Uganda who put their faith in Christ on Feb. 1 beat them and locked them in a room without food for nearly three days, sources said.
Nabagabana Fatuma, 14, and her 16-year-old sister, Namwase Aisha, need trauma counseling and medical care after the Muslim uncle who has custody of them, Kakongoka Ahamadah, mistreated them at their home in Nasenye village, Pallisa District, because they had converted to Christianity, sources said.
“My uncle became so furious because we had embraced Jesus,” Aisha told a Morning Star News source. “He locked us inside the house and began beating us with a wooden stick, and then we were left for three days without food. At the third day, we felt as if we were going to die, and we began crying for help.”
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.
Aisha said 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.
“We were always troubled by the Islamic jinn, and on many occasions we missed sleep during the night, and we then decided secretly to attend the Christian prayer meeting to seek to be set free,” she said.
They went to a worship gathering at a church in the area whose name is withheld for security reasons.
“Before leaving he church, we told the pastor of our problems, who first prayed for us to be followers of Jesus and later prayed that the evil spirits will not torment us again,” Aisha said. “After the prayers, we felt as if a big burden had been rolled away.”
Full of joy, the two girls arrived home and told their uncle what Jesus had done for them, she said. The subsequent beating left her with a swollen cheek and an injury to her left leg, the extent of which is unknown as she needs to have it scanned, while Fatuma’s right arm was injured, sources said.
Ahamadah was not available for comment. Sources said he arranged for the children to be taken to a Uganda branch of the Dawat-e-Islami, a global movement propagating the Quran and Islamic teaching, in the Sekulo area on Feb. 3. While he was away buying food in a nearby town, however, a friend of his arrived at the house. The children were crying, and the uncle’s friend decided to break the padlock, sources said.
The girls feared telling the friend, also a Muslim, what had happened.
“We told him that we had gone out without the permission of our uncle, who had then decided to lock us inside the house,” Aisha said.
The visitor told them he was going to town and would return soon with their uncle.
“As he left, we then decided to flee to the church,” Aisha said.
A church leader whose name is withheld for security reasons confirmed circumstances of the girls’ conversion and ordeal to Morning Star News. He initially took them to his home.
“When the two sisters arrived at my home, I decided to take them to a hiding place because I knew the uncle would soon come for the children,” he said. “The children looked pale, confused and traumatized. They need medical attention.”
The population of Uganda is less than 12 percent Muslim, according to Operation World. Catholics are the largest Christian denomination at 39 percent of the population of 28.6 million, followed by Anglicans at 36 percent; Protestants are less than 7 percent of the total population, and “independent” churches make up about 3 percent.