NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – An imam who threatened a convert from Islam in eastern Uganda has been arrested in connection with the killing of the 28-year-old Christian, sources said.
Laurence Maiso’s body was found at his house, his head in a pool of blood, on Jan. 27 at around 5 p.m. in Numuseru village, Naboa Sub-County in Budaka District.
Four days earlier, Imam Kamulali Hussein had met him and his wife on a local road. According to Maiso’s wife, the imam told him, “You have refused to join us. Do you know that Allah does not want us to have a kafir [infidel] neighbor? And you should know that Allah is about to send to you the Angel of Death in your house. Please prepare to meet him at any time.”
Hussein departed. Four days later, Maiso’s wife went to see a friend in nearby Lupada village. She returned to find her husband dead on the floor. Her cries brought several neighbors to the house.
Police rushed to the site, and the next day they arrested Hussein, well-known in the area and dubbed “the malaria of Christianity,” at Nampangalle village. The case is registered at Naboa police post with a reference number of CRB Ref: 28/2016.
“We found the villagers at the scene of the incident, and immediately we removed the body from the house and took it to the police station, then to the mortuary in Budaka,” said a police officer who requested his name be withheld. “The following day we carried out an intensive search, and from a lead from a villager we managed to arrest Hussein at Nampangalle village. We took him to Chief Magistrate Three at Kalaki court, and he was later remanded to Kamuge prison in Palissa District.”
The officer said police were still looking for other suspects as they interrogated Hussein.
Maiso lived in a predominantly Muslim area. On several occasions Muslims had confronted him, demanding that he recant his Christian faith, but he remained firm and continued as a member of the Naboa Church of Uganda, sources said.
A neighbor told Morning Star News that on the day of the murder, Jan. 27, she saw eight men coming out of Maiso’s house at 4 p.m., including Hussein, and that some of them were dressed in traditional Islamic attire. Another neighbor said he spotted Hussein’s uncle and other Muslims in the area around the same time.
The killing is the latest in a series of attacks on Christians in eastern Uganda. On Dec. 23, 2015, a pastor in eastern Uganda was hacked to death as he and other church members resisted an effort by Muslims to take over their land in Nansololo village near Mazuba, in Namutumba District, area church leaders said. Pastor Bongo Martin is survived by a widow and two children.
In another area of eastern Uganda, five underground Christians in a predominantly Muslim village, including a pregnant mother, died from a pesticide put into their food after a Bible study on Dec. 18, area sources said. The Bible study took place in Kachomo village, Kachomo Sub-County, Budaka District at the home of Hajii Suleiman Sajjabi, a convert from Islam who had begun the study with eight family members who had come to faith in Christ under his influence.
Sajjabi was unconscious after someone put a pesticide into the food the group ate after the study, and four of his relatives have died, according to area sources. A doctor at Mbale Regional Hospital said a postmortem test showed a substance known as Malathion, a low-toxicity pesticide, in those who had died. Though low-level toxic, Malathion when ingested quickly metabolizes into highly toxic Tomalaoxon.
Islamic extremists in eastern Uganda on 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. 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.
One of the assailants, Mudangha Kasimu, threw a stone that hit Kuloba in the forehead. Kasimu then shot him twice in the head, and he died as other Muslims were shouting, ‘Allah Akbar [God is greater],’” sources said.
About 12 miles east in Kabuna, near Budaka in Kaderuna District, a group of Muslim men from Palissa on Dec. 9 kidnapped three children of Madengho Badir, a Christian convert from Islam, sources said. Badir, 42, arrived at his home in Kabuna Sub-County, Kabuna parish, at 10 p.m. to find 5-year-old Nabukwasi Shakira, 7-year-old Gessa Amuza and 10-year-old Wagti Musitafa missing.
An area source said a 14-year-old boy from Kabuna, Karami Hassan, was with Badir’s three children when they were abducted near their home. The boy said a group of Muslims from Palissa were looking for Badir, and the boy led them to Badir’s children.
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.
On Nov. 12, the father of a young Muslim woman in east Uganda 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, 2015, 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, 2015 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.