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Muslim relatives set lethal trap for convert to Christianity

Muslim relatives of a former Islamic teacher in Uganda who became a Christian set a trap for him last month, hiring killers to bury him alive in a large ant mound, sources said. Saban Sajabi, 32, had gained repute as an itinerant sheikh, teaching Islam in various mosques and schools in eastern Uganda, before an uncle led him to faith in Christ in 2015. With family members threatening him, he left his Muslim wife and child and fled to Jinja that year.


He received further threats after marrying Sarah Birungi, a Christian, in 2016, with the warnings continuing this year. A source said one of the last text messages he received from a relative read, “If anything happens to you, be informed that we shall not help you, especially at this time of COVID-19. Our advice is for you to return to Islam, the religion of the family.”

Birungi said that Sajabi on the 14th of July received a telephone call from a relative saying the uncle who led him to Christ, Shadrach Hasakya, was suffering a serious illness. Sajabi had regularly visited Hasakya on holidays while growing up, and his uncle had paid for his high school education, Birungi said.

Sajabi continued receiving calls from the relative as they made their way to Kabula (a newer village near Iganga, not Kabula town in western Uganda), she said. Arriving at about 8 p.m., they were warmly greeted by motorcyle taxi drivers who offered to take them to Hasakya’s home in Kabula, Birungi said. She added that Sajabi tried calling back the relative who had called him, but his phone was turned off.

They paid for one motorcyclist each to take them to the uncle’s home, and upon reaching a swamp the one carrying Sajabi said he had run out of fuel, she said. They continued for another 100 meters, pushing the motorcycle out of fuel, until they reached the house of one of Hasaka’s neighbors in Kabula, near Iganga town, Birungi said.

“Immediately two motorcycles arrived carrying three men each,” she told Morning Star News. “They started beating my husband and then dragged him to a nearby anthill, dug into it and pushed his head inside, and he breathed his last.” During the assault, one of the assailants covered her mouth and warned her that they would also kill her if she cried for help, she said.

“What you have witnessed happening to your husband today is for the disobedience of your husband not heeding the advice given by the family that he should return to Islam, since Islam cannot tolerate infidels,” one of the assailants told her, Birungi said.

The killers later cut the neck of the body, she said. After they released her, she ran to a house about 100 meters away and knocked on the door. “I told them that my husband has just been butchered,” Birungi said. “They feared to step out but made an alarm, and many people arrived.” The next morning her husband’s body was taken to a mortuary.

Birungi was hospitalised for depression and trauma for 18 days at a hospital in Jinja, she said. When she was released on the 2nd of August she learned that Sajabi’s Muslim relatives had declined to give him a funeral, and that Hasakya had buried him.


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