Muslim extremists killed five Christian workers by throwing them off a boat into central Uganda’s Lake Kyoga, sources said.
The evangelists from End Time Word Ministry church were traveling on Aug. 10 from Nakasongola District to Apac District on a commercial transport boat with plans to plant a church in the Aduku area, a Christian survivor of the attack told Morning Star News.
The survivor, Amos Kyakulaga, a deacon at a church in Namutumba who was acting as a guide, said the five evangelists began proclaiming Christ to a group of 10 Muslims in Islamic attire aboard the boat.
“On our way, Tonny Ankunda started preaching to the people on the boat, which resulted in a huge argument between Muslims and the missionaries concerning the Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Kyakulaga told Morning Star News.
He said one of the Muslims, identified only as Bashir, began threatening the Christians, saying, “If you continue insisting that Jesus is the Son of God, then Allah will kill all of you.”
Citing Scripture, the evangelists continued affirming the sonship of Christ and, according to Kyakulaga, Bashir told them, “We are giving you one last minute to stop your blasphemy and to convert by confessing the shahada (Islamic creed), or else your lives are at risk.”
When the five evangelists refused to renounce Christ, the Muslims seized them and pushed them off the boat one by one, Kyakulaga said. While the lake is only 4 to 5.7 meters deep, they were 200 meters from shore, and all five Christians drowned.
The 10 Muslims aboard were in agreement that the Christians should be killed, and neither they nor the boat’s pilot did anything to intervene, Kyakulaga said.
The Muslims asked him if he was one of the missionaries, sparing him when he said he was not part of the church-planting team, he said. When the boat docked, he took a motorcycle to the church in Aduku that had invited them, where an elder obtained help from local officials and a fishing group to find and remove the bodies from the lake.
Morning Star News has obtained photos of the bodies of the five victims: Ankunda, 44; Peter Agaba, 28; Juliet Ashaba, 39; Johnson Karungi, 27; and Julius Lweere, 52.
Police have contacted officials in Nakasongola District and leaders of the sending church of the Christians, a church source in Aduku said.
Along with Bashir, two other suspects were identified as Jamil Budde and Juma of Nakasongola.
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% of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.