NAIROBI, Kenya – A Muslim in central Uganda is suspected of hanging his wife and two children because the young mother and oldest child received Christ after attending Christmas Day and Sunday worship services, sources said.
A neighbor on Dec. 28 found Shamira Nakato hanged with her two children, ages 3 and 8, in their house in Bwetyaba village, Kayunga District, after area residents witnessed signs of violence against her, a church leader said. She was 27.
Another neighbor had invited Nakato to attend a Christmas service at her church on Dec. 25 while Nakato’s husband was away on a two-day trip, said the pastor of the church, unidentified for security reasons. At the end of the service, the pastor spoke with Nakato and prayed for her and her children.
Nakato and her two children returned to the church for the Sunday service on Dec. 26.
“At the end of the service, Nakato remained behind and told me that he she had a deep conviction to embrace Christ after the prayer of Christmas Day,” the pastor said. “I then prayed for her and invited her for a special prayer day on Monday, Dec. 27.”
Nakato’s 8-year-old child also received Christ, the pastor said.
While Nakato and her children were attending the service on Dec. 27, her husband arrived home earlier than expected, and a Muslim neighbor told him that his wife was seen attending church services on two consecutive days with the Christian neighbor, area residents said.
The Muslim neighbor told Nakato’s husband, Hamidu Kasimbi, that she might be gone to another service, and Kasimbi left his house and went to the church site, residents said.
“When he entered the church, his wife and the children were seated at the back,” the pastor said. “He pulled her out of the church, and about 100 meters away, a member saw him beat his wife.”
At mid-day, another neighbor heard screaming from Kasimbi’s house, the pastor said. At about 4 p.m., a neighbor saw two men wearing Islamic prayer caps outside Kasimbi’s house putting together an undefined wooden structure.
Late at night, area residents heard brief screaming in Kasimbi’s house, the neighbor said. When he went to the house early the next morning (Dec. 28) to borrow a tool for cutting firewood, he did not find anyone at the compound.
The neighbor said the door was unlocked, so he entered the house and found Nakato and her two children hanged. The wooden structure built earlier appeared to have been used to elevate the victims before hanging, he said.
“I made an alarm that brought area residents, including the chairperson of Local Council 1, Fred Sekatonya, rushing to the scene,” he said. “Later the police arrived from Bukaloto police post, and the three bodies were carried to Kayunga Hospital for postmortem.”
The results of the portmortem were unknown, but the neighbor noted other injuries indicating that one or more of the victims might have been strangled before being hung.
Kasimbi has disappeared and is sought by security agencies. Police registered a homicide case (SD REF 27/27/12/2021).
Sekatonya, the council chairperson, said Nakato suffered head and neck injuries. The wooden structure that Kasimbi and the two accomplices were making were used for the hangings, he said.
In eastern Uganda, Muslim extremists on Friday (Dec. 31) attacked a church leader in Buwenge town as he returned from the fourth day of a five-day evangelistic campaign in which four Muslims put their faith in Christ, sources said.
During the event that began on Dec. 27 and was scheduled to end on Saturday (Jan. 1), Bishop Raymond Malinga Opio spoke at an open-air venue in Buwenge town, resulting in four Muslims putting their faith in Christ on Dec. 29.
Among the four converts to Christianity was the holder of a decree in sharia (Islamic law) from the Islamic University in Uganda, Mbale campus, the bishop said. Bishop Opio and other leaders of his church (unnamed for security reasons) baptized the four new Christians, unidentified for security reasons, on Thursday (Dec. 30).
As Bishop Opio was returning to his hotel in Magamaga town on Friday (Dec. 31), three motorcyclists passed him at high speed about three miles from his lodging at about 7 p.m., he said. One slowed and stopped to check his motorcycle, and Bishop Opio stopped to assist him, he said.
Two of the motorcycles carried an extra passenger, and soon the four people on the two other vehicles arrived where the bishop was stopped with the lone motorcyclist.
“As they arrived, I noticed that all of them wore Islamic attire,” Bishop Opio told Morning Star News.
“One of them said, ‘This man must die for converting our Muslim brothers to Christ, including our sheikh.’ I got scared.”
A sheikh (Islamic teacher) had converted to Christ on Nov. 10 at another campaign the bishop held in Namayemba, Bugiri District, Bishop Opio said.
“I relocated him far away from his relatives,” he said. “The Muslims were angered by his conversion.”
After the motorcyclists threatened the bishop, one of them began hitting him with his fist and a blunt object, while others kicked him, he said.
“I made an alarm, wailing for help, identifying myself as bishop,” he said. “Four young men living nearby arrived with bright torches flashing. The attackers seeing the flashlights coming toward our direction jumped on their bikes and took off while shouting that soon they were going to kill me.”
One of the assailants told him, “We shall soon come for you because you are misleading our Muslim faithful to join your bad religion,” the bishop said.
The four young men who arrived were Christians and called three others to escort Bishop Opio to a hospital near Magamaga, where he received treatment for three days. He sustained injuries to his back and head, including the loss of two teeth and severe swelling on his mouth. He was discharged from the hospital early Monday morning (Jan. 3) and returned to his home in another undisclosed district, where he is receiving further treatment.
The assaults in central and eastern Uganda were the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in the country 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.