By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (email@example.com)
UGANDA (ANS — JUNE 1, 2016) — A Muslim in eastern Uganda strangled his wife to death this month for leaving Islam, relatives and neighbors said.
According to a story by Morning Star News, area residents said Awali Kakaire, 34, in the early morning of May 8 killed Mariam Nakirya, 30, for becoming a Christian in Mbaale village, Imanyiro Sub-County, Mayuge District.
Kakaire, who has fled the area, began to suspect his wife was a Christian a month prior. That was after the local imam questioned him as to why his wife and children had not been attending mosque prayers, nor his children attending the madrassa (Islamic school). Kakaire questioned his children about it, said one of his sons, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Our father questioned us why we have stopped attending the madrassa, but we told him that we were busy with school work as our mother had instructed us,” he told Morning Star News.
He added, “Our mother told our father that she has been busy instructing us on school homework. This made my father to cool down his temper.”
As Kakaire frequently traveled to Malaba on business, sometimes for a month at a time, the rest of the family was often able to attend a nearby church on Sundays.
On May 8 Kakaire awoke at 6 a.m., and after his Islamic cleansing ritual woke his wife for her to join him in morning Islamic prayers, their son said.
“Our mother refused, and our father started strangling her as she cried for help, he said.
Kakaire left the house after killing her. He returned two hours later and forced his five children, ages 5 to 12, into a hole he had dug in a nearby garden, his son said.
“We resisted and began screaming, and neighbors arrived immediately, but he had already dumped us into the hole that he had dug,” he said. “Seeing the neighbors, he tried to flee but he was overtaken and then began to be questioned by those who surrounded him.”
Kakaire’s brother, Michael Kirunda, told Morning Star News he and others were awakened by loud screaming from the house.
“Neighbors rushed to their home and found the children dumped into a hole,” Kirunda said.
“He wanted to escape, but he could not find a way, hence we started questioning him about the children. ‘My family has no respect for Islam,’ he said in a loud outburst. We then proceeded into the house and found his wife dead.”
Muslim and Christian relatives of the deceased, along with some Christian neighbors, tried to lynch Kakaire, but some Muslims showed support for him. Police arrived with tear gas, guns and batons and The situation got calmer.
“They dispersed us, and we left,” Morning Star News reported Kirunda said. “That evening some of the Muslims hurriedly buried Mariam.”
Nakirya had come to Christ in Aug. 2015 after a series of visits from a visiting evangelist from a nearby church.
“The absence of the husband doing business away from his home for a length of time gave me good accessibility to ministering the Good News to Nakirya’s family,” the evangelist, whose name is undisclosed, told Morning Star News.
Relatives of Nakirya tried to ambush Kakaire several times before he fled. The couple’s two oldest children, ages 12 and 11, are with their grandmother, and the youngest three are with Kirunda.
The grandmother, identified only as 80-year-old Efulansi, said the children need food, educational and psychological support.
“The children are still traumatized and are crying for their mother,” Morning Star News reported she said.
About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to spread one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.
For more information visit www.morningstarnews.org
Photo captions: 1) Christians from Eastern Uganda protesting the violence against them. 2) Elma and Jeremy Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reyalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter (www.joyjunction.org). He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information please contact Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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