NAIROBI, Kenya — A pastor in western Uganda remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit after he was poisoned by Muslim extremists and a Christian couple on November 24, news sources say.
Rev. Francis Kotikiriza, 51, gathered to pray with the couple, who had recently converted to Islam in Kigrubia County, Hoima County, at 6pm when, according to the husband, seven Muslims broke into the house, the name of not releasing information about the husband for security reasons.
The group was started by a local Muslim extremist, the husband said, trying to force them to eat bananas cooked with a fungicide that causes Tamin poisoning.
“It was a real fight in the house,” the 27-year-old pair told Morning Star News. Three men grabbed the priest, and the remaining four went down our throats. We ate a few small pieces of plantain before we ran away, but the shepherd couldn’t escape.
Nearby neighbors joined in their cries for help, he said, and the attackers fled after kicking and beating the priest.
Within three hours, Reverend Kutekereza began experiencing nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. He said the husband and wife, 23, had the same symptoms 5 hours after the attack.
The couple has been treated at the health clinic in Kiguruba for three weeks and was released on December 14, but the priest remains in critical condition. He was taken to a hospital in Hoima.
“The pastor is still fighting for his life in a hospital bed,” a source told Morning Star News. “He suffers from flatulence in the stomach, swelling in the legs, and swelling in the face, which affected his ability to walk and his eyesight.”
The call also indicated that Pastor Kotikiriza, a married father of five, aged between 17 and 28, needed to be transferred to a hospital with better medical equipment so that he could be diagnosed better.
The pastor led the couple to Christ in October after visiting them several times.
On October 20th we decided to become followers of Issa [Jesús] “At the end of the evening prayer meetings with Pastor Kutekereza,” said the husband. “The pastor continued with us the evening prayers every Thursday. The Muslim neighbors started asking us about the frequency of the pastor’s visits to our house. We told them he was a business partner.”
At around 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10, a young Muslim man came home to see a priest put a Bible in his bag, the husband said.
He said, “Later we asked about the Bible after the pastor left, but we kept quiet.” “Then he left.”
On November 17, the pastor showed the couple threatening text messages sent to his phone, including one that read, “We know your assignment home.” [de la pareja] It is not an act but to trick them into joining your Christian faith. We warn you to stop doing this immediately.”
The husband was also threatened. He said the leader of the group that attacked them, his neighbor, told him, “You’ve been deceiving us by saying you plan to work with the pastor, but we found out that you have Bible study activities. This is not allowed in our religion.”
The church leader said the Christian couple’s lives are in danger unless they move, and the pastor needs help with the hospital bill.
This attack was the latest of many occasions of persecution of Ugandan Christians that Morning Star News has documented.
Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s religion, and to convert from one religion to another. Muslims make up no more than 12% of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in the eastern regions of the country.
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