Muslim extremists kill youth pastor in attack on Uganda church

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An axe blow to the head sustained during an Islamic extremist attack on a church has led to the death of a youth pastor in Uganda.

According to Bishop Sserugga John Assaph of Bukomero Miracle Center Church in Bukomero, Kiboga District, about 75 miles northwest of Kampala, Emmanuel Mugabi sustained deep cuts on his leg and head and lost consciousness in the attack that happened in late May.

The bishop said Mugabi succumbed to a blood clot from the head injuries after a week of treatment. He was 32.

The incident occurred when the church organized an evangelistic event and distributed Bibles in the predominantly Muslim area last month, village resident Sheikh Musa Lwanga on May 20 helped lead a Muslim mob brandishing swords, axes and sticks who attacked the church building at 5 p.m. shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allah akbar [God is greater],” Assaph said.

“They pulled down the building while shouting ‘Allah akbar’ and thereafter set it on fire with petrol and rubber on timber, burning iron sheets, chairs, Bibles and other church property,” Assaph told reporters.

He called police who soon arrived as the Muslim extremists fled, he said. Immediately officers heard a loud wailing and screaming from the church building’s storage area.

“The rescue team found a man in a pool of blood,” Assaph told Morning Star News. “The police called me to identify the victim, and I found that he was my youth pastor.”

Before he died, Mugabi identified the first person to deliver an axe blow to his head as Musa Serunjoji, the pastor said.

A church elder who lives near the church site identified two area Muslims, Serunjoji and Ahmad Tulyagumanawe, as they fled, he said.

Mugabi also said that others he could not identify struck him on the leg, chest and back. His body was buried on Sunday (May 29) in Kakunyu village, Bukomero.

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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