Three men beat and raped a 19-year-old Catholic woman in Uganda last week, sources said.
The student at St. Mary's Teachers College in Bukedea, in the district of the same name about 50 miles from Mbale in Eastern Uganda, said she was returning from class on Sept. 9 when she was ambushed by three masked men who indicated they knew that her parents had left Islam.
"I tried to scream, but one blocked my mouth and another slapped me as they forcefully dragged me off the footpath," said the woman, whose name is withheld. "I heard one of them telling the others that I should be killed because my parents deserted Islam. But another said, 'But we are not sure whether this girl is a Christian.'"
Instead of killing her, they raped and beat her so severely that she is still receiving hospital treatment for her injuries, sources said.
"Her father called me over the phone and informed me what had happened to his daughter," a Christian leader said. "I then met him at their home and prayed with the family, as the daughter is still in the hospital."
The men attacked her seven miles outside of Mbale on Kumi Road and dragged her about 100 meters off the footpath, she said. After beating her until she was unconscious, they left her to die near a swamp.
Area resident James Kalanga found her early the next morning, Sept. 10.
"Just before connecting to the paved road, I saw a piece of school uniform on top of the trees," Kalanga said. "I was a bit suspicious, then I saw some marks of human footprints and moved closer. Then I heard the sound of a person from the bush. I got scared and returned back, but good enough I met two men who were traveling on the same route and told them what I had seen."
The three men went back into the wilderness and found her half-naked and groaning in pain, still unable to speak, he said.
Nearby they found her school backpack; they opened it and discovered her name and school, he said. They took her to a medical clinic and reported the matter to the school.
The school informed her parents, who went to the clinic and then took her to a hospital for treatment.
The family left Islam five years ago and joined Bulefe Catholic Church.
Threat to Take Children
In an undisclosed village in Budaka District, also in eastern Uganda, a 36-year-old mother of eight requested prayer after area Muslims forced her to return to Islam, she said.
Madina (full name withheld) said she maintained her faith in Christ in spite of her husband leaving her 10 years ago because she became a Christian, but that she returned to Islam this month after her former in-laws threatened to kill her and take her children.
"The relatives of my husband threatened to kill me and take away the children if I refused to go back to Islam," she said. "They said, 'We are not going to lose our children to Christianity. We better kill you and get back the children.'"
Madina told Morning Star News she is spiritually troubled from returning to Islam, and she asked for prayer that God would supernaturally restore her to Christ.
"The family of my husband had cut all ties with me when they discovered that I joined Christianity, but this was not much of a problem to me as compared with the death threats that they have issued," she said.
A Muslim relative had allowed her family to stay with them after her husband divorced her, and the relative had also provided medicine and funds for her children's education, "but now he has joined the rest of the family members in issuing death threats to us," she said. "I have nowhere to go with my children, so I have decided to return to Islam to save the children and myself. I know Issa [Jesus] will remember me one day."