By BosNewsLife Africa Service
KAMPALA, UGANDA (BosNewsLife)-- Evangelical church members in eastern Uganda are mourning a pastor who was killed amid ongoing Islamic attacks against Christian converts in the region.
Pastor Bongo Martin was hacked to death when he and other church members resisted an effort by Muslims to take over their land, local Christians said.
The Christians arrived when Muslims reportedly placed a boundary fence with poles and barbed wire around land of the Pentecostal Church Ministry congregation in Nansololo village near Mazuba, in Namudumba District.
Before he was killed the pastor was reportedly told by an imam that he had been warned "many times" that Muslims do not want the church to be located near a mosque. He also opposed reports that the congregation " has been taking our members to your church.”
The incident came shortly after friends and family said a Christian policeman, Ismail Kuloba, was shot dead December 8 in the town of Komodo.
The next day three children of Christian father Madengho Badir, aged five, seven and ten, were reportedly kidnapped from their family home in Kabuna, some 19 kilometers (12 miles) outside the town.
Christians say the attacks are part of a wider campaign against the spread of Christianity in the region.
It has revived fears Uganda's Christian community will face similar persecution as in previous centuries.
This month, Pope Francis underscored those concerns while making a visit to the Anglican shrine to the Ugandan Martyrs in Namugongo, some 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) northeast of Uganda's capital Kampala, where he spoke of the "ecumenism of blood".
Christians said the pontiff looked visibly pained and shocked as Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, explained how the martyrs were put to death on the orders of the King of Buganda in the late 19th Century for refusing to renounce their faith.
Later, in a sermon during a Mass outside the Catholic shrine, Pope Francis spoke of the sacrifice of the 45 men - 23 Anglicans and 22 Roman Catholics - saying that their "witness of love for Christ and his Church has truly gone 'to the end of the earth'."
"We remember also the Anglican martyrs whose deaths for Christ testify to the ecumenism of blood," he reportedly said. "All these witnesses nurtured the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives and freely gave testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ, even at the cost of their lives, many at such a young age."
The pope said that the "Ugandan martyrs had tended to their faith and deepened their love of God." He noted that they were "fearless in bringing Christ to others, even at the cost of their lives."
Amid ongoing turmoil in Uganda, the pope said that their faith "continues to inspire people throughout the world."
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