Evangelist slain for leading Muslims to Christ, witnesses say.
Three men reviling a convert to Christianity for leading Muslims to Christ in eastern Uganda killed him on Sunday (July 3), a witness said.
Simolya Latifu of Molu village, Kasasira Sub-County, Kibuku District was slain with a sword at about 7:15 p.m. at a swamp near Molu, the witness said. Latifu was 47.
Latifu had left an evening service at Christ Discipleship Worship Center in Molu at about 6:30 p.m., and three witnesses saw a motorcycle and then heard wailing and calls for help at a nearby swamp at 7:15 p.m., one said.
“The killers were condemning him for converting Muslims to Christianity,” the witness told Morning Star News. “We hid ourselves in a thick bush.”
The witnesses were able to recognize the alleged assailants as Ali Buyinza, Muhammad Kamunyani and Jamada Walyomba, he said.
“We saw Buyinza cut him on the head with a sword, and thereafter they left,” said the witness, unidentified for security reasons. “We remained there for about 30 minutes, and then we took courage and slowly went to see the slain man and discovered that he worshipped with us at Christ Discipleship Worship Center.”
They informed church Pastor Emmanuel Muzei and filed a report with police at about midnight, he said. Officers and area residents went to the area early Monday morning (July 4) and confirmed that the body was that of Latifu.
“Angry Christian residents from Molu village flooded to Molu village swamp to mourn the death of their beloved convert from Islam who had been going from one church to another testifying about how he converted to Christianity,” Pastor Muzei said. “His testimony was an encouragement to many Christians in my church and led many to Christ. We have lost a dynamic evangelist.”
Police arrested Buyinza, taking him to Kibuku police station amid tight security as residents sought to kill him, Pastor Muzei said. Buyinza told police, “We warned him to come back to our religion and gave him several opportunities, but he turned a deaf ear – we’re proud of killing him,” a source said.
Officers were still hunting for the other two suspects. On Tuesday (July 5), angry Christians from eight villages set the homes of suspects Buyinza, Kamunyani and Walyomba on fire, area sources said.
Latifu is survived by his wife and five children.
He converted to Christianity in June 2019 and then fled opposition to Lira District after leading several Muslims to Christ. Believing Muslim extremists had given up looking for him, Latifu had returned to Kibuku District in February, Pastor Muzei said.
Area Chairperson John Emuga of the Anglican Church of Uganda in Molu said he grieved after seeing Latifu’s body.
“We request residents to support the family of the late Latifu, and that all the assailants be brought to book,” Emuga 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.