(Morning Star News) – Unable to return to her home in western Uganda due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Rehema Kyomuhendo was in the eastern part of the country when she first heard about Christ.
In March she had accompanied her father, a sheikh (Muslim teacher) on a business trip from Mbarara District to Mbale District, 492 kilometers (305 miles) away, and began listening to Christian programing aired on an FM radio station. They were still at her aunt’s house in Nawuyo village, Mbale District, on May 4 when at 10 p.m. she called a business friend of her father’s whom she knew to be a Roman Catholic.
“She explained to me about Christ and the way of salvation, and I got convicted and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” Kyomuhendo told Morning Star News by phone. “As she was sharing Christ with me, I was so overjoyed, and my father heard my joy and woke up, came from his bedroom furiously and started beating me up with blows, slaps and kicks.”
Her father, Sheikh Hussein Byaruhanga Husain of Mbarara District, shouted at his 45-year-old sister who was sleeping in another room, telling her that his daughter had converted to Christianity and that therefore he was going to kill her, Kyomuhendo said.
He quickly broke a jerrican, lit the pieces with its remaining fuel and began burning her, a source who spoke with Kyomuhendo told Morning Star News. Kyomuhendo screamed for help, and her aunt got out of bed and shielded her from her father, the source said.
“She carried her outside of the room together with a Christian neighbor who arrived,” the source said. “The neighbor arranged for a taxi-van that took her to a hospital, and she got immediate treatment.”
Kyomuhendo is expected to remain at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital more than a month with serious burns on her leg, stomach, rib area, near her neck and on part of her back, he said.
“Please pray for Kyomuhendo for a quick recovery on her hospital bed,” the source said.
Kyomuhendo and the neighbor have not reported the assault to police for fear that her father might try kill her, he said.
The attack 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.