By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Two men in eastern Uganda have been detained and charged in the September 12 killing of a Christian evangelist, Christian sources confirmed Friday.
The two detained men, publicly identified as Faluku Gaju and Kowa Mugooda, were arrested in Namakoko B village over the killing of pastor Barnabas Musana, footage showed.
The suspects had allegedly harassed and threatened him for his role in bringing Muslims to faith in Christ, sources said.
However, Musana angered Muslims while holding evangelistic events and debates about Christianity and Islam, said Pastor Simon Okot of Life of God Ministry in Namwenda village.
“In February 2020, the Muslims got irritated and furious when he said that Jesus is the Son of God and hence is more than prophet Muhammad,” Pastor Okot told Morning Star News.
“They shouted at him, and the church members whisked him away before they could mount an attack. Since then, he started receiving threatening messages that he should leave the area.”
Abandoning the evangelistic rallies and debates, Pastor Musana trained evangelists to visit homes. Within six months, 15 Muslims “had put their faith in Christ,” Pastor Okot added.
“This angered the Muslims most, and he was given a second warning to leave the area,” he recalled.
Musana was also “gifted with a healing ministry,” Christians said. Every evening he reportedly prayed for people’s problems, and “many got healed miraculously,” Pastor Akot was quoted as saying. “Some Muslims secretly visited him for prayers, while others converted to Christianity and attended church secretly.”
As a result of the conversions, in June, Muslims also began harassing Pastor Okot’s church in Namwenda village, he said. “Whenever they met me going to church, some shouted at me, calling me, ‘Kafir! [infidel],’ and at times they sent children to throw stones on the roof of the church to interrupt the service,” Pastor Okot explained.
And by late July, area Muslims began threatening Pastor Musana’s family members. “Muslims started saying abusive things to him, his wife, and two children, along with throwing stones on top of his roof at night,” Pastor Okot said. “One of the killers, Faluku Gaju, at one time said that if he killed him, then Allah will reward him with Jannah [Garden Paradise] in a place called Firdausi [highest level of heaven], where the prophet will be.”
To limit risks, church leaders advised Pastor Musana to reduce his evangelistic efforts and start a small fishing business, Pastor Okot said. He arranged for Pastor Musana’s fish to be sold through an area businesswoman.
On September 12, a neighbor of Pastor Musana saw the evangelist going to the Mpologoma River to fish, followed later by two men, Pastor Okot explained.
When the area merchant designated to sell Pastor Musana’s fish found he had not shown up hours later, she called his wife. She, in turn, went to the house of the neighbor, unidentified for security reasons, who had seen him followed by the two men.
Pastor Musana’s wife feared that the two Muslims allegedly harassing him and his family, Gaju and Mugooda, were those who followed her husband to the river, she said. Soon, a church member told Pastor Okot he had seen two Muslims attack Pastor Musana at the river, Pastor Okot said.
Pastor Okot explained that he and the area chairman of the Church of Uganda with other Christian leaders went to the site and found Pastor Musana’s body. It was strangled, and with numerous deep wounds and scars, caught in water plants at the river’s edge, he recalled.
They called police, and officers from the Ivukula police station arrested Gaju and Mugooda, sources said.
The office of the resident state attorney took up the case and charged the suspects with murder, Christians confirmed.
The two men were in a government prison on remand waiting for a court hearing, Worthy News monitored Friday.
The area chairperson reportedly urged residents to refrain from destroying the homes of the suspects after previous incidents.
In response to the killing, young Christian men damaged part of a mosque before police stopped them from demolishing it, according to church sources.
Pastor Musana’s wife said her late husband’s prayers before setting out to fish led to large catches he sold to various buyers. “He was the family breadwinner. My three children, ages 2, 5, and 7, will miss him at such a tender age.”
The killing was the latest of many reported attacks against Christians in Uganda
The constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one religion to another. However, devoted Christians and converts face difficulties in especially Muslim-dominated areas in Uganda, Worthy News learned.
Muslims comprise roughly 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the African nation.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.