Pastors wounded in separate attacks in Uganda

Remains of church building after Nov. 8, 2022 attack in Katantala village in Kiboga Disrict, Uganda (PHOTO: Morning Star News)

Originally published in Morning Star News

A group of Muslim extremists in eastern Uganda seriously wounded a pastor and his wife in an attack on a meeting at their church on November18, he said.

The knife attack on an evening service of Believers’ Church in Nansonko village, Kibuku District came in response to an evangelistic event in August where five young Muslim men, ages 19 to 27, put their faith in Christ, said the 56-year-old victim of the assault, Pastor Jude Sitaalo.

“I had been warned three times with threatening messages,” Pastor Sitaalo told Morning Star News, adding that the threats were made both face-to-face and in phone texts, with one stating, “Pastor, let our children come back to Islam, and if not we are going to kill you and destroy your church.”

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He said he and his wife, Naisiga Sitaalo, were meeting with 10 other church members when he saw a mosque leader leading a group of Muslims who intruded into the service at about 7.35 p.m.

“They got hold of me and started beating me with sticks while one of them cut me with a long knife,” Pastor Sitaalo told Morning Star News. “One member of the church and my wife tried to rescue me, but they were seriously beaten up with sticks.”

Other church members fled for their lives, he said. Pastor Sitaalo sustained knife wounds on his head, hand and back, and his wife was also cut on the forehead and back, he said.

“We are suffering for pastoring converts from Islam,” the pastor said from his hospital bed.

Pastor Sitaalo said he that after recovering, he would seek advice from church elders before deciding whether to file a police report.

In Katantala village, Kiboga District, in the Buganda Region northwest of Kampala, Muslim extremists on November 8 beat a pastor and demolished his VOSO (Voluntary Salvation Outreach) Church of Christ building for leading 23 Muslims to Christ in August, said Pastor Agaba Ezera.

The conversions took place after church members visited homes to share the gospel on Aug. 14-17, he said.

“This angered Muslims, and they came and attacked the church on November 8 at about 8 pm, while we were in the evening fellowship,” Pastor Ezera told Morning Star News. “From out of nowhere, people came shouting and chanting Islamic words as if they were going to attend Eid prayers. They started beating us and pushing the church building down, as well as pulling off the iron sheets.”

Some church members fled from the church site in Katantala village, 27km from Kiboga town, he said.

“I was beaten badly with blunt objects, but glory be to the Lord Jesus because I survived though they thought that they had killed me,” Pastor Ezera said from his hospital bed. “This incident happened because of our evangelistic activities in the Muslim community of Katantala and Kapapali villages.”

The pastor, who sustained leg, back, arm and head injuries, said he recalled one of the assailants saying, “You brought kafiri [infidels] here and converted our elderly woman by giving her salt and soup – you must die today.”

Police said investigations were under way.

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% of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

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