Uganda: Christians burn mosque in retaliation to attacks by suspected Muslim terrorists
Two worshipers attending a night church service at a Pentecostal church in Kyegegwa district, 250km west of the capital Kampala, were killed on Friday in what police say is a suspected terrorist attack.
We have fears that terrorist acts like those in Nigeria have begun in our area
“A group of people from a nearby mosque attacked Mungu Mwema Pentecostal church located in Kyegegwag district,” police spokesman, Fred Enaga, said.
“They were wielding machetes, sticks and guns. They killed two people including an 18 year old girl and a man.”
He said several people injured during the attack had been admitted to Kyegegwa hospital.
In an attempt to arrest the suspected terrorists, police stormed a nearby mosque where they had reportedly taken cover but were met with resistance when the group opened fire.
“When we followed those who attacked the church, we realised that they were hiding in a mosque. They started shooting at us from the mosque,” Enaga continued.
Police, according Enanga, had initially considered the attack as religious rivalry, but later ruled it as an act of terrorism.
“We do not expect guns to be kept in mosques,” he said, adding that two of the attackers had been arrested and were being held for questioning.
Enaga said they suspect western Uganda based rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) – who were recently attacked in the Democratic Republic of Congo by United Nations and government troops and dispersed – were responsible for the attack.
“‘We suspect they could be ADF rebels […] We are following them and will definitely arrest them,” he said.
But Henry Oryem, a police officer, says in retaliation to the attacks “irate Christians and other villagers burnt down the mosque and destroyed all crops in the gardens surrounding the mosque”.
More than 200 residents in the vicinity of both the mosque and church have fled their homes to nearby trading centres fearing Boko Haram style attacks may have started in the country.
“We have fears that terrorist acts like those in Nigeria have begun in our area,” Charles Abomu, a Kyegegwa villager who fled his home, said.
Extremist group Boko-Haram in Nigeria have been behind various deadly attacks in the West African nation, where several hundreds of people have been killed.