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Abudlawali Kijwalo and Hajat Habiiba Namuwaya
Abudlawali and Hajat
Photo: Morning Star News

Three recent incidents of violence against Christians in Uganda reveal the costs of following Christ. For believers in this African nation, opposition can come from many directions, even close family members, and may potentially result in serious injury or death.

Hajat Habiiba Namuwaya
In February, Hajat, a 38-year-old mother of three, came to faith in Christ after experiencing what she referred to as a miraculous healing. For some family members, however, her conversion to Christianity was not acceptable. After receiving a warning from her mother that the family was planning to kill her for following Jesus, Hajat had to leave her children behind with their father to seek refuge at the home of a pastor's family.

Despite attempts to protect the Christian convert, on June 20th, hostile family members were able to track down Hajat and ambush her. Her father recited Quranic verses and said she was no longer a part of the family. He then beat Hajat with a blunt object and forced her to drink a poisonous substance. When neighbours arrived, the attackers fled the area. At last report, Hajat needs specialized treatment to recover from her injuries. The police have not been notified of the attack for fear of further retaliation.

Abudlawali Kijwalo
In another incident, 39-year-old Abudlawali is recovering from a machete blow to his head, which was inflicted by his own brother on June 27th. The Christian man was tending to cattle in the Kibuku District when his brother, Musoga Murishid, confronted him. When asked whether he was now a Christian, Abudlawali replied, "I am for Christ." Musoga then struck him with a machete before walking away.

A village elder who witnessed the incident called for help; in response, healthcare workers rushed to the aid of the injured Christian. The doctor overseeing his case says that Abudlawali will thankfully survive with needed rest and further treatment. He has since taken refuge in an undisclosed location.

Pastor Isima Kimbugwe
Pastor Isima, who is from the village of Buseta in Uganda's Kibuku District, left Islam and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ in 2017. Despite opposition, he continued to share of the Lord's love, leading others to place their faith in Him. After receiving life-threatening warnings from militant Muslims, the pastor was forced to flee the village. He then moved to the city of Kampala to work for a Christian organization. Yet, as the pandemic led to a loss of donor support, Pastor Isima returned to his home village.

On June 30th, local Muslims sent a boy to the door of the home where Pastor Isima was staying. The boy had been instructed to approach the pastor with a traditional Islamic greeting. Pastor Isima refused to reply as expected, and instead answered by telling the child that Jesus loves him. In response, the boy spat on the ground and recited an Islamic creed.

That evening, when Pastor Isima was returning home after visiting his brother, Geoffrey Kadogo, he heard footsteps nearby. Fearing his life was in danger, he immediately phoned Geoffrey. By the time his brother arrived at the scene, the residence had been completely destroyed by fire while Pastor Isima's body remained inside. Nearby was a jerrycan with a note justifying the Christian man's murder for leaving Islam.

Pastor Isima is survived by his wife and two children, who have been staying in another Ugandan district since the pastor was initially forced to flee to Kampala. The police have identified three suspects in the killing.

Please pray for Pastor Isima's wife and children as they now mourn the tragic loss of their loved one. Further, pray for the complete healing for Abudlawali and Hajat who, by God's grace, are courageously remaining faithful to Christ in the face of persecution. Prayerfully remember all Ugandan believers who are encountering varying degrees of suffering and difficulty, yet remain willing to pay the cost for their faith. May those responsible for the recent attacks be brought to justice. More importantly, may they come to know the love and forgiveness that have been made available to them through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.