A 17-year-old daughter of a Ugandan Christian pastor was allegedly gang-raped by five Muslim men after her father ignored the men's threats warning him to stop having worship services at his church located in the Muslim-majority Budaka district.
Morning Star News reports that an unnamed pastor, who preaches at the New Hope Church in the Kaderuna sub-county of the district, received a number of threatening messages and text messages telling him to disband his church in the area because it was responsible for helping lead locals to convert from Islam to Christianity.
"One of the short messages in my phone read, 'Be you informed that we do not want your church in this area. If you continue worship here, then you will live to regret it,'" the pastor told Morning Star News.
The daughter, who also remains nameless, was walking to the church at around 7:30 p.m. on March 28 when she was approached by five men, who forced her into the bushes and sexually abused her, an official from the church explained to the news agency.
"The five Muslims took hold of me, and they raped me there," the church source quoted the daughter as saying. "I tried to scream, but they threatened to kill me. One of them said, 'Your father should stop this prayer meeting of trying to change Muslims to become Christians and close the church building — we have warned him several times.'"
The attackers fled the scene right before the congregation arrived for the scheduled all-night prayer vigil. The daughter was then taken to a local hospital.
The pastor explained that his daugher has been traumatized by the incident.
"The girl still has problems communicating," he said. "She just says a few words and then keeps quiet. She needs trauma counseling."
Although Uganda's population is 85 percent Christian and 11.5 percent Muslim, the Budaka district consists of 65 percent Muslims and has become known as a region that has hosted other attacks against Christians.
The region has also been particularly hostile toward Islamic converts to Christianity.
Muslim schools in the district have taken up the practice of blocking students who have converted to Christianity from transferring to a Christian school by refusing to write them letters of recommendations that are required for their enrollment in other schools.
In April of last year, Muslim extremists also tried to poison a former Muslim sheikh who had converted to Christianity in 2003, Morning Star News also reported. The extremists tried to poison Hassan Muwanguzi with pesticide but when the poisoning did not succeed in killing Muwanguzi, they went after his 12-year-old daughter and strangled her to death in June.
Muwanguzi said the attackers came while he and his daughter were at home and his wife and other children were away. He remembers hearing his daughter's cry for help but when he went to help, the extremists apprehended him.
"They hit me with a blunt object, and I fell down," he said. "I just woke up and saw neighbors surrounding me while wailing, saying that my daughter is in critical condition."
After the neighbors took his daughter to the hospital, she was pronounced dead.
"I am regretting why I survived the poisoning," Muwanguzi said. "God could have allowed me to die. My daughter has died, and I am now mourning for her death as well having pain all over my body."