Muslims in eastern Uganda angry at a Christian for leaving Islam killed his wife on Monday (Oct. 19), a month after his brother was killed for the same reason, sources said.
Mamwikomba Mwanika, mother of three adult children and five others ranging in age from 17 to 9, died en route to a hospital after Muslims unknown to her dragged her from her home at about 9 p.m. and assaulted her, survivors said.
Mwanika answered a knock at her door in Kalampete village, Kibuku District, to find strangers asking for her husband. Her husband's brother, Samson Nfunyeku, was killed in the village on Sept. 23 after flaring tempers cut short a religious debate he'd had with Islamic scholars.
Mwanika replied to the visitors that her husband was away, according to her children. They said one of the men at the door then told her, "Your husband has followed the religion of his brother, and we had warned you people to stop these activities, but our message has landed on deaf ears."
The Muslims threatened to kill her if she failed to produce her husband, the children said.
"The attackers dragged our mother outside the house as she screamed and cried for help," said her 13-year-old child.
Also present in the house were two daughters, 9 and 11; two other minor children were away at boarding school, and her adult children - 19, 22 and 24 - were also not at home.
Neighbors later came and found only the children inside the house, and soon Mwanika's husband, George Mwanika, arrived. After a search, they found Mamwikomba Mwanika in a pool of blood 100 meters away. She was unconscious but appeared to be alive, George Mwanika told Morning Star News.
They rushed her to the hospital, and she was declared dead upon arrival, he said.
George Mwanika said that since the murder of his brother, he has been receiving threatening messages from Muslims, unknown to him, telling him to stop spreading Christianity or else he would face the same fate as his brother. He fears for his life and the lives of his children, he said.
"I know that the attackers are looking for me," Mwanika told Morning Star News. "We are seeking God's protection and His peace. May God give me the courage to continue sharing the love of Christ to those who are lost, as Jesus said we should love our enemies."
Residents of Kalampete are also living in great shock and fear, sources said, and neighbors are appealing for a prompt investigation and tightening of security in the area. The family planned to file a police report after a burial service on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 22).
Relatives of the slain Nfunyeku did not file a police case until last week, sources said.
Family members of Mamwikomba Mwanika said they hoped publicizing her death would spur police to investigate and strengthen security.
"We really need prayers," George Mwanika said.
Converts from Islam to Christianity in eastern Uganda have recently experienced regular instances of persecution. A Muslim in Nsinze village, Namutumba District beat and left for deadhis wife and 18-year-old son on Aug. 11 after learning they had converted to Christianity, area sources said.
Issa Kasoono beat and strangled his wife, Jafalan Kadondi, but she survived, said a source who requested anonymity. He said other relatives joined Kasoono in beating her and their two sons, Ibrahim Kasoono, 18, and Ismael Feruza, 16, though the younger son managed to escape with only bruises on his arm.
The wife of a former sheikh was poisoned to death on June 17 after she and her husband put their faith in Christ in Nabuli village, Kibuku District. Namumbeiza Swabura was the mother of 11 children, including a 5-month-old baby.
In Kiryolo, Kaderuna Sub-County, Budaka District on March 28, five Muslims gang-raped the 17-year-old daughter of a pastor because the church leader ignored their warnings that he stop worship services, she said.
About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country's constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one's faith and convert from one faith to another.