Muslim extremists in eastern Uganda last week boarded a boat in which a young evangelist was fishing and killed him, sources said.
Dante Tambika, also known as Patrick, was beaten and strangled to death near Nankodo 3 village, Nankodo Sub-County, on Aug. 31 after he and friends went out on Lake Lemwa, said Stephen Mukama, a survivor of the attack. Tambika was 19.
Mukuma, Tambika and two other friends were walking toward the lake when they realized five Muslim teenagers were following them, Mukama said. They knew the five Muslims who stopped them, he said.
The four Christians did not respond, continued on to the lake and began fishing from the boat at about 6:30 p.m. As they were returning to shore about two hours later, they saw the same boys, and one shouted the jihadist slogan, “Allah Akbar [Allah is greater],” Mukama said.
“From nowhere we saw six other Muslims approaching our fishing boat, furious and uttering defaming words against us,” he told Morning Star News. “I told my friends that we were in trouble and that each of us should prepare for self-defense. I led them in prayers.”
The jihadists, whom the Christians did not recognize, came close, and one of them jumped into their boat and began beating Tambika on the back with his fist and a stick, Mukama said.
“He commanded us to believe in Allah, or else they will kill us,” he told Morning Star News. “Dante replied that we can’t renounce Christianity, saying, ‘If you want to kill us, kill us, know that we are ready.’”
Mukama asked the assailants why they should renounce Christ. Tambika’s late father, Boaz, had been a successful area evangelist, and one of the assailants replied that a Christian named Boaz had converted many Muslims, including his brother, to Christianity.
“Others jumped into our boat and started beating us with sticks,” Mukama said. “I jumped off the boat and swam to shore. I was followed by my other two friends who could swim. Unfortunately, Dante was left in the hands of the assailants because he had no swimming skills.”
Upon reaching shore, the friends called for help, but by the time they and the others returned to the site, the assailants had fled, he said. The Christians and area residents found Tambika’s body the next day in the water near the shoreline. He had been beaten on the head, tied with a rope and strangled, Mukuma said.
Tambika’s father had mentored his son in how to share the gospel, and area Muslims began monitoring Tambika’s movements after he led five teenage Muslims to Christ, sources said. His father had led a community leader and about 30 other Muslims to Christ before he died in 2019.
The conversions led to confrontations with clan members, and several former Muslims who put their faith in Christ left the area due to threats on their lives, sources said.
Christians have reported the killing to police (Reference No. SD REF 04/01/09/21). Tambika’s family has hired an attorney in the case.
The assault 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.