(Morning Star News) – A young woman who told a Muslim about Christ and a pregnant, formerly Muslim woman beaten for her new faith suffered serious injuries in eastern Uganda, sources said.
Radical Muslims assaulted Lydia Nabirye, 23-year-old daughter of a Church of God evangelist, on April 7 at about 1 p.m. near Luwooko village, Buwunga Sub-County, Bugiri District, she said.
Nabirye said she shared her faith with a young Muslim woman in early March who subsequently became a Christian. The former Muslim woman, unnamed for security reasons, received threats from her Muslim family due to her new faith, so Nabirye’s family gave her refuge in their home, where six other former Muslims are staying due to threats, she said.
“Her mother knows that her daughter is with me, because we have been close friends with her for more than four years,” Nabirye told Morning Star News by phone. “The family knows about our relationship with her.”
On April 7 Nabirye’s father, Paul Kaikiya, sent her to Bukolwa village to visit another former Muslim who was mourning the loss of a son who had died, and Muslims saw her entering their property, she said.
On her way back, Nabirye was about six miles from the bereaved mother’s home and close to the home of the woman she had recently led to faith in Christ when she was attacked by a group of radical Muslims, three of which she could identify, she said.
“They held me and started beating me up,” Nabirye told Morning Star News. “They slapped me, and others hit me with sticks, saying that they were out to kill me because I was changing Muslims to become Christians.”
An area source told Morning Star News that the Muslims ambushed, strangled and severely beat her. When she shouted and screamed, neighbors called police, and the assailants fled when officers arrived, he said.
“When I met her at her home on April 14, she was still in pain from multiple injuries – head, right eye and left hand injuries,” the source told Morning Star News. “At the moment Nabirye’s father is very fearful of a possible attack. The Muslims in Luwooko village have sworn to harm Kaikiya. The family needs prayers at this difficult moment, especially for the security and the safety of the Muslim-background believers.”
Expectant Mother Beaten
In Pallisa District in the town of the same name, also in eastern Uganda, a six-months pregnant woman in Odwarata village is recovering from injuries after her family beat her for becoming a Christian, sources said.
Sylvia Shamimu Nabafa, 27, had attended church services secretly for five weeks after putting her faith in Christ in January, but as she was leaving church on the sixth week, a Muslim neighbor on Feb. 16 saw her and reported it to her father, Haji Juma Suleiman, Nabafa said.
That evening, her father asked her if she was a Christian, said Nabafa, who at the time was five months pregnant.
“I did not respond. He began hitting me with kicks and blows,” Nabafa told Morning Star News. “He then took a blunt object and hit my right leg. I started bleeding, and the next thing I knew, I found myself in the hospital bed at Palissa Health Centre.”
She was discharged after six days at the hospital, on Feb. 22, she said.
Still unable to undertake much activity, Nabafa has taken refuge with one of her church’s elders.
“The doctor said that the unborn child is well,” the church elder, whose name is withheld for security reasons, told Morning Star News. “At the moment she needs support and encouragements as she recalls the ordeal she has gone through after giving her life to Jesus Christ. At times I find her weeping. She needs food, clothes, medication and hospital check-ups.”
Nabafa’s journey to Christ began after she heard a series of radio sermons by a pastor in the region, she said.
“The pastor preached about Jesus as the only Way, the Truth and Life, which touched my heart,” Nabafa said. “That very night I had a dream of attending a church service, and the pastor was telling me that that the only way to escape from destruction was to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Immediately after the dream I became restless.”
Increasingly without peace, she began looking for the pastor, whose identity is withheld for security reasons. She met him and two elders at the church office on Jan. 11, she said, after getting past wary church staff members.
“It was quite difficult for me to meet the pastor,” she said. “After interrogation from the watchman and a search, I was allowed into the church. I was very fearful as I narrated to the pastor and his two elders about the dream that I had had, as well as the condition of my heart.
“The pastor prayed for me, and immediately I felt a great relief from my heart, and thereafter he prayed for me to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life. After confessing with my mouth my sins and praying for the Lordship of Jesus in my heart, I was full of joy as I returned back home.”
The cases are 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.