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Uganda: Christian Killed After Open-Air Event, Church Demolished

The disturbing treatment of Robert Bwenje illustrates yet again how conversion to Christianity is so often the occasion for persecution of Christians — both of the converts and of those who brought the converts the word of the Gospel. 

Among the Christians of Uganda are around 35,000 Orthodox Christians. 

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of Christian persecution in Uganda, see here.

“Christian Killed after Open-Air Event in Uganda,” Morning Star News, July 24, 2022:

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A Christian in eastern Uganda died on July 10 from head injuries sustained in an attack by Muslim extremists the previous week, sources said.

Robert Bwenje had accompanied Assistant Pastor Ambrose Mugisha of Elim Pentecostal Church in Nyamiringa village, Kapeke Sub-County, Kiboga District, to an open-air debate about Christianity and Islam in Sirimula village, Kyankwanzi District on July 6.

Following the debate, eight Muslims including two women put their faith in Christ, said Pastor Mugisha, 25.

“This angered the Muslims, but they could not attack us because we had tight security from the police,” he said.

As the assistant pastor and Bwenje returned, Muslims from Sirimula village ambushed them while they were crossing a swamp, he said.

“We saw men dressed in Islamic attire coming from the bush in different directions and shouting ‘Allah akbar, Allah akbar [God is greater],’” Pastor Mugisha told Morning Star News.

He identified two of the assailants as Ashirafu Kasamba and Kabagambe Kadiri, who forced them to hand over Bibles and other books they were carrying, he said.

“They removed the Koran and then burned the rest of the books, including the Bibles, and then beat us with sticks,” Pastor Mugisha said. “I was able to identify Ashirafu Kasamba who cut me on the head. I then jumped into the water and managed to swim and cross to the other side.”

Passersby found him bleeding and rescued him, he said. The assailants continued assaulting Bwenje and then fled, and the passersby took both wounded Christians to a nearby clinic for first aid and then later to a hospital in Kiboga, Pastor Mugisha said.

Pastor Godfrey Ssemujju of Elim Pentecostal Church said he visited Pastor Mugisha and Bwenje in the hospital on July 10, and Bwenje died later that night at about 11 p.m. Bwenje was 28.

“Bwenje succumbed to deep head injuries, and we buried him on July 12,” Pastor Ssemujju told Morning Star News. “We reported the incident at Kiboga Central police station.”

Police arrested Kasamba and charged him with attempted murder, he said….

Muslims continued sending threatening messages to his phone, including one from Kasamba that read, “We are giving days to bring back the Muslims that you converted to Christianity. We know you are hiding them,” according to Pastor Mugisha.

Church Building Demolished

In Kiboga District on June 26, Muslim extremists from Kindeke village attacked Pastor Baingana James, demolished his church building in Rwomuriro village and threatened to kill him if he continued leading Muslims to Christ, the 48-year-old pastor said.

Pastor James said that he received a phone call the morning of June 23 from a Muslim who identified himself as Sheikh Mwesigye Ja’afari of Kindeke telling him to leave and also to return to Islam seven Muslims who had converted to Christianity after they received healing prayer.

“We therefore want to warn you to leave the place within two days, if not we are coming to destroy your home and church,” Ja’afari told him, the pastor said.

He did not take the threat seriously, but on the morning of June 26 he found a letter on his door ordering him to stop Sunday services and close the church, he said.

“I refused, because preaching Jesus Christ is my calling, and planting churches is my vision in this area,” Pastor James said.

While he and his congregation were still in their Sunday service on that day, they saw group of Muslim youths led by Ja’afari ambushing them from different directions with clubs and sticks.

“They started beating us, including mothers who were breastfeeding and youths, while shouting in four languages – English, Luganda, Swahili and Arabic – and ordering us to stop the service and leave immediately,” Pastor James told Morning Star News. “As we were struggling to go out in serious panic and tension while others were with serious injuries, they started breaking and pulling down the building.”…

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