A 37-year-old father of four was killed on Jan. 2 after participating in a Christian-Muslim debate in eastern Uganda at which 13 Muslims put their faith in Christ, sources said.
Ahamada Mafabi was returning from the debate in Nakaloke, Sironko District outside Mbale when men on two motorcycles shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allah Akbar[God is greater],” knocked him off his motorcycle and sliced his neck with a knife, one of the Christians sent to escort him said.
The attack took place at about 10 p.m. in Munkaga cell, Bukasakya Ward in Mbale, said his pastor, whose name is withheld for security reasons.
“Muslims responded openly to receiving Christ,” the pastor said of the public debate that took place before the attack. “There were shouts from the Muslims demanding that Mafabi leave the grounds of the meeting, saying, ‘Mafabi, stop your blasphemous utterance of equating Issa [Jesus] to God, calling him the Son of God.’”
Seeing the hostility, the pastor assigned two Christians to escort Mafabi to his home in Butaleja District, he said.
One of the men escorting him, whose name is withheld for security reasons, said they saw two motorcyles coming from behind carrying four people after they reached Munkaga.
“As they bypassed us, they shouted the Islamic slogan, ‘Allah Akbar’ and then hit our motorcycle down with a metal object,” he said, adding that he and the other escort fled for their lives. “The attackers overpowered him and cut his neck with a long Somali knife.”
Mafabi is survived by his wife and four children, ages 3 to 14 years old, all of whom need to be relocated, the pastor said.
Mafabi had left Islam to put his faith in Christ in December 2020 after several visits with the pastor in an undisclosed village in Butaleja District. Initially the pastor housed him to protect him from Islamists upset with his conversion, and later his church rented a house for him elsewhere.
Knowledgeable in both Islam and Christianity, Mafabi helped the pastor begin Christian-Muslim debates in mid-2021, and in one year more than 100 Muslims put their faith in Christ, he said. Mafabi faced severe Islamist hostility, escaping four assassination attempts, and the pastor also received threatening text messages.
One such message, he said, read, “Stop taking our members to your church. Let this be known to you that your church and your life is at risk.”
The pastor requested prayer for the widow and her children, who need support for food, shelter and school fees. He also expressed concern for his ministry’s newly built center for converts from Islam, where they are discipled and trained in job skills to make up for losing employment because of their faith.
The pastor has reported the crime, and police are investigating.
“I have some fears, but this is part of the spiritual warfare that comes with Christian persecution, and I am ready to face it,” he said.
The attack 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.
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