(Morning Star News) – A 38-year-old mother of three in eastern Uganda had secretly put her faith in Christ for three months before her Muslim husband found two Bibles in her suitcase.
On that day, Nov. 21, in Bugiri District’s Matovu village, Zubeda Nabirye’s husband asked her why she had the two Bibles, one in English and the other in their tribal language. Her husband, Umar Kyakulaga, also asked if she had converted to Christianity, she said.
“I replied to him that a friend had given me the Bibles, and that I was using it to compare it with what is written in the Koran, and after all religion is a matter of personal choice,” Nabirye told a Morning Star News contact. She also told her husband, “I was convicted and decided to embrace Christianity.”
Kyakulaga grew angry and picked up a copy of the Koran, she said.
“My husband began reading verses in the Koran that allowed men to beat their wives if they disobey them, and after that he started beating me with slaps and sticks,” she said. “As if this was not enough, he forced me to take Dithane M-45,” a toxic pesticide.
She tried not to swallow the pesticide he had forced into her mouth but ingested some while he was trying to strangle her and hitting her leg with sticks, she said. He also injured her chest, neck and thigh, Nabirye said.
When the couple moved to Matovu from Kaliro district earlier this year, they had left their three children with Nabirye’s mother-in-law due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus no one else was home when Nabirye lost consciousness.
“It was around 10 p.m. when I regained consciousness and found myself surrounded by neighbors,” she said.
Neighbors told Morning Star News that they heard crying and wailing at Nabirye’s home, but that by the time they made it there, the place was empty.
“While we were going back, we heard groaning from a nearby banana plant, and there we found Zubeda Nabirye, who had just regained her consciousness but with vomit and blood all over her body,” one of the neighbors told the Morning Star News contact. “We then arranged for her transportation to the hospital near her home in Kaliro.”
Nabirye said she suspects her husband took her to the banana plants expecting she would die there.
A relative said Nabirye would not file charges with police over the assault as it could provoke further violence.
Nabirye, who put her faith in Christ on Aug. 21 after learning about Him over several months from a pastor, was discharged from the medical clinic on Dec. 2. At this writing she was staying with a Christian family at an undisclosed location.
“She still looks very weak and asks about the wellbeing of her three children,” the Morning Star News contact said.
Her children are ages 16, 13 and 9.
“I am worried about my children, who are under the care of my mother-in-law,” Nabirye said. “I know it will be very difficult for me to see them and reunite with them.”
The assault was 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.