The Christian community in eastern Uganda is mourning the death of a beloved Pastor killed hours after he engaged in a public debate about Christianity and Islam in Komolo village, Pallisa town.
Pastor Thomas Chikooma who had planted about 50 Churches during his lifetime, was killed May 3 by suspected Muslim extremists after he was invited to an open-air debate, where he led 14 people, including six Muslims, to faith in Christ.
According to Christian Headlines, a United States-based online news provider, after offering a defence of Christianity at the debate using the Bible and the Koran and leading the people to receive Christ, angry Muslims began shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allah Akbar,” or “Allah is greater,” compelling him [Pastor Thomas] to rush away from the venue with his son.
On his way home, the unexpected happened, as his son told media.
“Two motorcycles carrying two Muslims each and dressed in Islamic attire speedily bypassed us. When we were 200 meters to reach our house, the two motorcycles stopped at the junction opposite Nalufenya primary school and the road near our house.”
The pastor became suspicious and told him to follow at a distance, and he saw his father speaking with the motorcyclists and two other men.
“Immediately some commotion began as the men started talking about the open-air debate, and soon one of them slapped my father,” he said. “I got scared and fled through our cassava plantation and arrived at home.”
Pastor Chikooma’s wife, Jessica Naikomba, arrived home an hour later, and they returned to the scene with some neighbors but did not find anyone, according to Christian Headlines.
“As we continued doing the search, we found my husband in a pool of blood, beheaded and his tongue removed,” Naikomba recalled.
Pallisa police arrived and took the body to a hospital in Pallisa for a postmortem examination. Pallisa council leaders and Salvation Ministries International bishop Denis Akora also gave statements.
Police were said to be investigating.
Relatives were in shock and tears as they mourned the loss of the pastor, a father of 11 who had planted 50 churches in eastern Uganda. Pastor Chikooma was a well-known evangelist who led St. Martin Church in Ngalwe village. Bishop Akora and another pastor were present with the mourners as the assault took place close to churches of their denomination.
“The family needs prayers, financial support and trauma counseling at this trying moment,” Bishop Akora said.
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