Uganda: Pastor 'killed by group of Muslims' for evangelising

A village church in UgandaReuters

A pastor was tied up and killed by a group of Muslims in eastern Uganda reportedly for converting Muslims to Christianity and refusing to sell land for the building of a mosque.

According to Morning Star News (MSN), 38-year-old pastor Robert Bakulubanywa of Bubulanga Victory Church in the Kibuku District, was on his way home from a church gathering "when a band of Muslims killed him near his house".

A local resident told MSN: "They grabbed him, then tied him up and cut him with very sharp pang [sword]".

Bakulubanywa was killed n 24 July. His wife said that Muslims in the area had threatened the pastor on several occasions, especially after Friday prayers.

"The Muslims had issued several warnings to him to stop converting the Muslims to Christ, especially the youth," she told MSN. "For over a month the Muslims have been pressuring us to sell a piece of land to them for the construction of a mosque, but my husband refused."

The newspaper reported that after prayers at the local mosque on 22 July, one Muslim neighbour told Bakulubanywa's wife, whose name has been withheld for security reasons: "Please, things are not good for your family. Tell your husband to be very careful and leave the Muslims alone."

She became troubled when her husband did not return home on 24 July, which was a Sunday. After trying to call him without success at around 9pm, she called a church elder who told her the pastor left for home at around 730pm with another member of the church. She then became very scared, she said, because her husband had had "serious confrontations with the Muslims." She added: "I telephoned a neighbour who had accompanied the pastor, and he informed me that some five Muslims stopped them on the way and started questioning Robert on several issues, including taking their young boys to church. The talk got tense, and one of them tightly got hold of him. The neighbour then took off for his life, leaving my husband struggling with the gang."

She then set out to the scene of the attack with Christian neighbours. "We found my husband killed and lying in a pool of blood," she said.

The couple has four children, ages 3, 6, 8 and 10.

According to MSN, some Christians reported the killing to the local council chairman, Tyogo Muniru, a Muslim, "who took no action". Police are now reportedly searching for the killers. MSN said that: "In predominantly Muslim Bubulanga village, the killing has left area Christians confused, frustrated and fearing for their lives."

In Uganda, around 85 per cent of the population is Christian, and 11 per cent Muslim. However some areas of eastern Uganda have large Muslim populations.

The country's constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate faith and convert from one faith to another.