(Morning Star News) – A Christian mother of five in eastern Uganda was pleasantly surprised when two Muslim neighbors visited her on Christmas morning with gifts of sugar, salt, soap, matchboxes, groundnuts and cooking oil.
Nafamba Bongo Madina, whose children range in age from 5 to 14, thanked Taaka Hajira and the other Muslim neighbor in Gayaza village, Kabuna Sub-County, Budaka District, for the goods. When the lunch hour approached, Madina began preparing some food with the oil she had received.
Before serving lunch to family members, including an in-law unnamed for security reasons, she first tasted the food. Within minutes she began vomiting.
“When she started screaming and was continuously vomiting, I called in a taxi and rushed her to Kabuna dispensary, where it was found that she had been poisoned,” the in-law told Morning Star News.
Madina was treated and discharged after spending a night in the health center.
After she returned, Madina’s relatives took the cooking oil to the center for analysis, where it was found to contain poison, the relative said.
The chairman of Gavaza village, John Guloba, urgently convened an 8 a.m. meeting on Dec. 28, where he questioned Hajira. She confirmed that she had taken the gifts to Madina, including the poisoned cooking oil, the in-law said. Another Gavaza official present, Laaka Bison, confirmed to Morning Star News that Hajira confessed.
Accused of intending to kill Madina and her family members, Hajira asked for forgiveness, saying that since Madina’s family left Islam two years ago, the loudness of their weekly worship at their house with some other church members had been disturbing her and other Muslim neighbors. Hajira’s house is about 100 yards from Madina’s.
Chairman Guloba, a Christian, expressed his shock at what could have befallen Hajira’s family, but village leaders made no legal decisions.
Police have not been called, apparently in order to keep tensions with the Muslim community from escalating, but the in-law said Muslim neighbors have started taunting Madina’s children by calling them infidels.
“I know this is meant at provoking my family, with an intention of causing harm to us,” Madina said.
Madina’s husband died shortly after leaving Islam and placing his faith in Christ two years ago, leaving her and her children, now ages 14, 12, 10, 7 and 5.
Former Sheikh’s Life at Risk
Also in eastern Uganda, a former Muslim sheikh (Islamic teacher) who was beaten unconscious on Nov. 16 for his faith in Christ, Mulangira Ibrahim, was nearly suffocated to death on Dec. 7, sources said.
Pastor Charles Musana of Evangel World Vision Church on Lake Victoria’s Jaguzi Island, Mayuge District, had rented a house for Ibrahim near a health center to aid in his recovery.
On the night of Dec. 7, a hard-line Muslim forced his way into the bathroom that Ibrahim was using at the house and began suffocating him, the 27-year-old Christian said.
“Today Allah has called you to himself,” the assailant told Ibrahim.
“He repeated it several times,” Ibrahim told Morning Star News. “After several hours, I regained my consciousness. I then telephoned my pastor, who arrived the following morning.”
Pastor Musana said Ibrahim complained of chest pain and stomach problems. He took him to a hospital, where Ibrahim was treated for five days. The pastor later took him to a friend in another town (undisclosed for security reasons), where Ibrahim is receiving further hospital treatment.
“At the moment the medical bill is high, and we need prayers for quick recovery,” the pastor said.
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 many concentrated in the eastern part of the country.