(Morning Star News) – Muslims in a village in eastern Uganda on Sunday (Oct. 30) gutted the home of a Christian family for housing two boys threatened with violence for leaving Islam, sources said.
Stephen Muganzi, 41, told Morning Star News that the two teenaged boys sought refuge with him on Oct. 16 in Kobolwa village, Kibuku District 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.
An area pastor told Morning Star News that Muganzi appeared terrified when he showed up at his church building with his family after fleeing the enraged mob.
“The life of my family is at stake,” Muganzi told the pastor, he said. “Where am I going to take them? I have lost everything that was in the house.”
After the boys had fled their homes and the parents began searching for them, Muganzi had begun receiving threats, he said.
“I started receiving threatening messages in my phone accusing me of converting the boys to Christianity, as well as housing them in my house without the parents’ permission, but I did not take it very seriously,” Muganzi said.
The boys’ fathers (names withheld, like those of the boys, for security reasons) organized a group of sharia (Islamic law) vigilantes to punish them for apostasy, and the mob, including the boys’ fathers, set fire to Muganzi’s house, he said.
“At around 6 p.m., I saw a group of people moving towards my house and immediately recalled the warning, and I signaled my family to take refuge,” he said. “As the attackers drew nearer, I noticed that some of the people wore Islamic attire. There and then I also ran for my life. After 20 minutes, we saw fire coming out of my homestead. I then knew that the Muslims had burned my house.”
The church sent one of the elders to check on the extent of damage, who reported, “The loss is enormous.” Muganzi and the boys have sought shelter elsewhere.
The elder discovered leaflets left behind by the attackers.
“Be informed that we are not yet finished with you,” one read. “Expect more, worse things are on the way.”
Food Project Attacked
Also in eastern Uganda in predominantly Muslim Nalidi village, Pallisa District, a mob of armed jihadists recently injured 27 Christians working at a food-producing project because people were coming to Christ through the outreach, sources said.
As they harvested rice, 16 of the 27 wounded Christians were seriously injured when the Islamists, invoking jihad in Arabic, descended on them at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 6, an area source said.
“The Muslims attacked us while shouting in Arabic, “We are fighting for the cause of Allah,” survivor John Supete said from his hospital bed.
An imam identified only as Akiimu led the group in the attack, sources said. The Christians suffered deep cuts on their heads, faces and hands, as well as back injuries, as the assailants struck them with long, metal knives used for cutting firewood, among other objects.
“The Muslims beat us using clubs, sticks and metalic objects, and several of us were injured,” said another survivor, Kirya Mbulambago, adding that most of the victims had serious cuts.
At this writing, 12 of those attacked were still receiving hospital treatment. Police arrived at the site, arrested several Muslims and opened a case against them (Reference No. SD/4/8/10/2016) at the Pallisa police station. The victims were admitted to Butebo health center.
The rice plantation project, a joint effort by churches from three denominations, began in March. Part of the production was designed to help the community through periods of food shortfalls, while other amounts were sold to help pay school fees for needy families.
Though the project, 21 Muslims put their faith in Christ over six months, sources said. Muslims started issuing threats to the Christians, with one leaflet warning, “We have discovered your hidden agenda, and be warned that soon you will reap what you have sown in changing our members to Christianity.”
Muslims angered by conversions to Christianity had issued threats to Christians, and mosque leaders had cautioned during Friday mosque prayers that those who converted would be treated harshly as taught in the Koran, sources said.