by Stefan Bos, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Police in eastern Uganda are investigating the involvement of Islamic militants in the May 3 beheading of a Pentecostal pastor who evangelized among Muslims, Worthy News learned Thursday.
The conversions happened following an open-air religious debate in the Pallisa area for which local Muslims invited the pastor, several sources confirmed.
As the meeting concluded, angry Muslims reportedly shouted Islamic slogans, forcing Pastor Chikooma to rush away with his son.
Muslim protestors reportedly followed him on two motorcycles, which then sped past him.
As the pastor and his son neared their home, they saw the motorcycles stopping at an intersection, waiting for them, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Suspicious of their intent, Pastor Thomas reportedly told his son to follow at a distance as he approached the men. The tone quickly turned violent, and he was struck by one of the men, according to his church supporters.
The boy fled through a field to his home and returned with his mother and some neighbors to search for his father, Christians said. Pastor Thomas was eventually found beheaded with his tongue cut out, according to relatives and friends.
In a statement to Worthy News, advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) said, “Relatives and friends are shocked by the violence. The father of 11 children had planted 50 churches throughout eastern Uganda.”
VOMC and rights activists suggest that the murder is “only one of the many instances of persecution” committed by militants within the Muslim minority who adopted Islamist ideologies.
With police searching suspects, VOMC urged supporters to pray for the late pastor’s wife Jessica, their children, and the 14 people who became Christians after his last meeting.
Though authorities view Christianity as the main religion in the African nation of 45-million people, Islamic militants increasingly target devoted Christians in several areas.
Muslims comprise roughly 14 percent of the population, but many live in eastern Uganda, where the pastor was killed.
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