Ugandan teenager locked up, starved for becoming a Christian

Mother of 17-year-old boy who was denied food and medicine in Nankoma, Uganda for accepting Christ. (PHOTO: Morning Star News)

Originally published in Morning Star News

 An evangelistic team in eastern Uganda this month discovered a Muslim had locked up his son and starved him for more than four months for accepting Christ, sources said.

Musobya Aramanzani of Nankoma, Bugiri District learned that his 17-year-old son had accepted Christ earlier this year after hearing preaching in Iganga. His son was attending a boarding school in Iganga, a teacher at the school phoned Aramanzani to report the conversion, and the boy was locked up upon a return visit home, an area pastor said.

The pastor learned of the abuse on Sept. 15 during evangelistic home visits in Nankoma. He said the previous day Aramanzani did not allow him and other Christians engaged in an evangelistic campaign that week to enter his property, and the team learned from area residents that he had locked his son inside for more than four months for converting to Christianity.

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The team returned on Sept. 15, and the pastor pleaded to be granted a few minutes to pray for the family; they were given five minutes, he said.

“As we were praying, there was a very strong, bad smell in the house,” said the pastor, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “Since we were many, we forcefully entered the inner room where the smell was coming from and found a teenage boy in a dilapidated state.”

A photo of the boy obtained by Morning Star News shows him in a starving condition with skin clinging to bones. Team members forcibly took the teenager, whose name is withheld for security reasons, to a nearby hospital for treatment while the pastor and others remained with the Muslim family.

Aramanzani told the pastor and his team that when his son returned home, he and other relatives tied him up and denied him food because he had “become a Christian by making a public confession, which was disgrace to our family. The message reached us through his teachers at Ibun Baz secondary school in Iganga, where our son was schooling. His teacher called us over the phone and told us about him joining Christianity.”

At the hospital, the pastor said, the boy was able to utter only a few words about his mistreatment. The pastor said he learned from his mother that she had provided him with water while he was locked up.

“The mother used to sneak in with only water, but when her son fell sick, she didn’t bring him medicine but insulted him by calling him an infidel to the family religion, and that he should die,” the pastor told Morning Star News.

Aramanzani later repented of the cruelty and other sins and put his faith in Christ, the pastor said.

“He persuaded us not to report the incident to the police,” the pastor said. “The situation at the moment is very delicate, because the father risks to be arrested, and at the same time he is a new Christian. We first need to treat the suffering young man, then later discuss with the family the next course of action.”

The abuse 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. 

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