A Muslim mob in eastern Uganda raped 15 Christian women and beat several members of a church earlier this month to punish their pastor for sharing the Gospel with Muslims.
Morning Star News reported that two weeks after the attack on Katira Church in Budaka District on Jan. 15, Pastor Moses Mutasa and eight other Christians are still missing.
The Islamic radicals, who attacked the 500-member congregation during an evening prayer meeting with clubs and sticks, reportedly blamed the pastor for leading people to Jesus Christ.
“Away with the pastor who is converting our Muslims to Christianity,” one of the witnesses, a church leader, recalled of what the attackers shouted.
The Muslim mob locked up the Christians in attendance inside the church, beating the men and raping several women. Some of the Christians who managed to escape the building were ambushed and assaulted by other radicals waiting outside.
“Women’s clothing was found inside and outside the church building,” a church leader said, with the raped women being taken to a clinic in Katira to receive treatment.
The Rev. Musa Mukenye, who oversees several churches in the district’s Iki-iki County, said at a meeting with local officials and police that the fate of the kidnapped Christians is still unknown.
“We do not know what has happened to our pastor, Moses Mutasa,” Mukenye said. “He might have been killed or has been kept hostage.”
Police are investigating the details and circumstances behind the attack on the church, which has also left parts of the church damaged.
Mukenye revealed that tensions between the local Christian and Muslim groups has been rising following several threats of such attacks from the Islamic radicals, accusing the Christians of converting Muslims to their faith.
The pastor pleaded for people to let the authorities carry out justice, however.
“This act is evil, and police should not relent until the attackers are arrested and charged in a court of law,” Mukenye said.
Muslims who convert to Christianity face great dangers in Uganda, with one teacher who made such a decision severely beaten by another Muslim mob back in November.
The Islamic villagers beat 30-year-old Malik Higenyi of Bufuja unconscious, destroyed his maize crops, and left him threatening messages.
“Be informed that you risk your life and that of the entire family if you happen to come back to your house,” one of the anonymous texts read. “We curse you and your family. You are an apostate according to Islamic law, and you deserve to die.”
In other incidents, such as one from August 2016, eight children from the Busalamu village in the country’s southwestern Luuka district, who decided to become Christians, were beaten by their Muslim families and cast away as “infidels.”