KAMPALA, UGANDA (BosNewsLife)-- Children at a Christian elementary school in eastern Uganda are still afraid to return to their classes after a Muslim militant posing as a Christian teacher attacked and injured the school director last month, BosNewsLife learned.
Christians said he targeted Hassan Muwanguzi, who leads the faith-based Hope of Glory International Nursery and Primary School in Kabuna village in Uganda's Budaka District.
The militant, publicly identified as Mugooda Siraji, was seen hitting the school director with a blunt object while shouting "Allah Akbar" or "Allah is Greatest."
Some teachers tried to apprehend the attacker but managed to escape, said Christians with close knowledge about the November 4 incident.
Police eventually detained Mugooda, and a case was reportedly opened up against him for allegedly perpetrating threats and violence.
Christians said the director suffered injuries to his right hand and face which, at the time, was bleeding profusely. Police took director Muwanguzi to a health center in Budaka where he stayed for two days, supporters said.
A headteacher reportedly said that the director remains unwell and may need further specialized treatment.
Advocacy and aid group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), which closely monitors the case, urged its supporters to pray that "the Lord" will "minister to all those who were affected -- either directly or indirectly -- by the recent attack."
VOMC also asked that He "continues His work of healing in Hassan's life, bringing about complete recovery from his injuries and the trauma of the attack."
Additionally, Christians were urged to pray for the militant. "Ask God, who is the source of truth and love, to touch his heart -- convicting him of wrongdoing -- so that he may come to repentance and thus experience the joy of forgiveness and salvation," VOMC said in a prayer request obtained by BosNewsLife.
The latest violence comes amid broader concerns among rights activists about the plight of Christians in eastern Uganda where most of the Muslim population resides.
"Through Uganda’s decentralized system of government, the area has become a self-governed sharia fiefdom essentially," complained the Open Doors advocacy group.
Open Doors cited a recent incident in which a 40-year-old woman, identified only as Edith, was allegedly targeted because of her Christian faith.
"A local sheik found one of her goats grazing in a nearby field and broke its leg. This is the second animal belonging to Edith that he has harmed in this way," the group said.
"The sheik is influential—he practices witchcraft and rules the area through intimidation. This reality has deterred Edith from reporting the incidents, knowing that officials would be too scared to seek justice for her," Open Doors added.
Though Ethiopia is guaranteeing religious freedom on paper in practice, Christians are suffering persecution in several areas of the impoverished African nation, according to rights activists.
Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement have ruled this country of over 35 million people without interruption since seizing power in 1986.
He faces pressure to improve human rights since winning the 2011 presidential elections following a 2005 constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limits.
Museveni won again in 2016, but opposition members and independent observers questioned the fairness and transparency of these and previous ballots.