Members of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mounted the attacks on Christians in western Uganda’s Kyitehurizi village, Kamwenge Sub-County in Kamwenge District at around 2 a.m., on December 19th, killing at least 10 Christians in the area.
“I heard the attackers saying that ‘The Christians will not celebrate the birth of Issa [Jesus] – we have to teach a lesson to these infidels for refusing our religion,’” a young woman who escaped the attack told Morning Star News, adding that she heard wailing close to her house and managed to leave and find a hiding place.
Those who lost their lives were members of the Anglican Church of Uganda, the Pentecostal Church and the Roman Catholic Church, area sources said. Enock Tukamushaba, chairperson of Kyitehurizi village, identified 10 Christians killed as 3-year-old Mary Kyomuhangi; Rossete Kugonza; Princess Ahumuza; Margaret Bunyazaki; Tugume; Esther Kurihura; Glorious Arindwaruhanga; Mesulamu; Bagiriana and Panddy.
More than 200 people were able to flee, but the assailants burned down their houses. Richard Baguma, a 35-year-old member of the Anglican Church of Uganda, said he escaped but lost all his belongings, including crops and farm products.
Originally based in western Uganda, the ADF has operated in the neighboring DRC’s North Kivu Province since the late 1990s. Considered one of the most lethal of more than 120 armed groups in the eastern DRC, the ADF in 2019 split into two factions, with one merging into the Islamic State Central Africa Province.
The U.S. government in 2021 designated the ADF as a foreign terrorist organization with links to the Islamic State.
A Uganda People’s Defense Forces spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye, reportedly confirmed that ADF militants attacked the village early on Dec. 19 but gave no details.
This is the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda.
Believers Portal reported recently of a 25-year-old Ugandan Muslim who killed his mother after finding out she had converted to Christianity.
Ashirafu Basalirwa, returned home to Busia town, Busia District after four years of working in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 15, and found his mother Sawuba Naigaga, mentioning the name of Jesus as she prayed.
“As I was praying with my eyes closed, my son called me, saying ‘Mum, Mum – you are becoming a disgrace to the family and the religion of Allah,’” the 46-year-old Naigaga told her friend before she died on Dec. 17. “I kept quiet, and he pushed me hard to the wall, then I fell down. He then took a blunt object and hit me at the head. Since then, I lost all my consciousness, only to find myself in the hospital bed.”
Uganda’s law and constitution allow religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another; however, Christian persecution in the Muslim-majority country is on the rise. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.