A 20-year-old Christian man was beaten to death in eastern Uganda by family members for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, Morning Star News reported Thursday.
Muslim family members beat Jalilu Kamutono along with his 23-year-old cousin Ahmad Waisana in late July with sticks and blunt instruments, leaving the two young men semi-conscious on a pile of banana plantation leaves. On August 5 Kamutono succumbed to his injuries while Waisana is still in critical condition, with injuries to his head and a kidney.
“I have been spending sleepless nights thinking of my cousin and best friend, Jalilu,” Waisana told Morning Star News. “My whole body is aching. I am not sure whether I will get well or die and go to be with Christ.”
Waisana and Kamutono both converted to Christianity last October after listening to radio broadcasts by a former Muslim preacher who defended Christianity by making comparisons between the Bible and the Qur’an.
After attending an open-air evangelical event in Budaka Town last fall, the two men made a public confession of faith in Christ.
On hearing of their conversion, their parents banished them from the house where both families were living at the time. Waisana and Kamutono then rented a house in Mbale and supported themselves by selling foodstuffs.
Because of the government-imposed coronavirus lockdown, however, the two were no longer able to work and eventually were obliged to return home.
On arriving home, Waisana and Kamutono were interrogated by family members and asked whether they were still Christians. When they answered affirmatively, their relatives began beating them severely and prepared to set the two on fire. Before they could do so, they were interrupted by some passing cattle herders and four Christians, at which the family members fled.
One of the Christians took photos of the two beaten men before taking them to a district hospital in Mbale.
“At the hospital we were diagnosed, and the finding was that Jalilu had internal bleeding, and after two weeks he succumbed to the injury,” Waisana said. “I could not remain at the hospital, and so I went to a nearby church.”
After Kamutono’s death on August 5, hospital personnel called his family to come and take away the body for burial, which they did on August 7.
This month’s death is the most recent in a string of violent incidents perpetrated against Christians in Uganda.
This past June 21, a group of Muslims from Lugonyola village in eastern Uganda beat and drowned 25-year-old pastor Peter Kyakulaga and 22-year-old church member Tuule Mumbya in lake Kyoga for attempting to preach to Muslims about Christianity.
One of the Muslims had threatened the two men the day before, saying he was aware that the men were attempting to evangelize and that such behavior would not be tolerated.
On June 8, a mob of Muslim villagers in eastern Uganda surrounded the house of Marijan Olupot, a convert from Islam to Christianity, and set the house on fire. Olupot, his wife and three children ages 10, 12 and 14 were able to flee through a back door but the assailants seized Olupot’s wife and beat her with sticks, leaving her seriously injured.
Neighbors rushed the woman to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, where she underwent treatment.
In the same Kibuku District, Muslim residents of Kasasira beat a Christian convert Mbulakyaalo Badawuyi with sticks and burned his home to the ground on May 25 for refusing to renounce Christ.
While Uganda’s constitution officially guarantees religious freedom, in eastern areas of the country with a high concentration of Muslims, Christians are often victims of religiously motivated violence, especially converts from Islam and those attempting to evangelize others.