Ugandan pastor fears for his life following death threats

KIBOGA DISTRICT, Uganda (Morning Star News) – A month after a Christian was killed in Kiboga District, Uganda, a pastor in the same district fears for his life following death threats from Muslim extremists, he said.

Pastor Godfrey Ssemujju, who oversees 130 Elim Pentecostal churches in the district, 75 miles northwest of Kampala, said the lives of his family and church members are also in danger.

“I am worried and very fearful,” Pastor Ssemujju said.

He said that one of the text messages read, “We warn you to stop converting our people to Christianity. If you continue doing this, then take note that [taking] your life is our Jannah [koranic paradise in the afterlife]. After killing you, our Allah will reward us with it.”

Pastor Ssemujju has received such messages for three months, with the threats increasing after his preaching at open-air events and one-on-one conversations in June and July led to 70 Muslims turning to Christ, he said. Some of the converts are teachers in Muslim elementary schools.

His churches have undergone a series of attacks in the past few months. On July 25, assailants killed tens of head of livestock belonging to one of his church members; on July 6, Muslim extremists attacked Robert Bwenje, who succumbed to his injuries on July 10 at age 28, and assistant pastor Ambrose Mugisha, seriously wounding his head; and on June 26, Muslim extremists demolished a church building in Rwomuriro village and threatened to kill Pastor James Baingana.

Pastor Ssemujju said 14 Muslims have threatened his life.

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In eastern Uganda, a family of eight lost their home after leaving Islam to put their faith in Christ, sources said.

Muslim extremists and their relatives in Maumo village, Waibuga Sub-County, Luuka District, on July 23 went to the home of Musa Kasadha, Kasadha said.

“Sheikh Huraira and his team, Ndiwo Huraira, Magulu Kassimu and Kapio Aramanzani, came to our home and inquired whether we had converted to Christianity,” Kasadha told Morning Star News. “We could not refuse but fearlessly told them that Christ has entered our lives, and that we’re new creatures. The attackers beat us badly.”

George Mwandah, chairperson of the local council, said he heard wailing and mobilized seven other council members to go to their rescue.

“Reaching the scene, we managed to rescue Musa and his wife, as well as the entire family who were being beaten badly and tortured,” Mwandah said. “A Muslim named Magulu Kassimu alleged that the Kasadha family had blasphemed the Islamic faith by converting to Christianity, and that hence they deserved to be killed.”

The assailants set the family’s home on fire, and they lost it and everything in it, he said.

“The family needs assistance in terms of clothes and food,” Mwandah said.

The attacks were 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.

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