Ugandan Christian pastor, Umar Mulinde was leading Christmas Eve services at his church in Kampala when he heard what he thought was one of his congregants calling out to him. He turned to see who it was and was confronted by a man who threw acid in his face.
Pastor Mulinde was rushed to a local hospital for emergency treatment, but was transferred to the International Hospital Kampala where doctors are trying desperately to save his vision and prevent the acid from doing further damage to his body.
The pastor is a Christian covert, having been raised in a strictly religious Muslim family. His father was the local imam and Mulinde was also a sheikh before he left Islam and converted to Christianity. Since his conversion, Mulinde has received many threats from Muslims, but had not taken them seriously until now.
“I have been witch-hunted since I converted to Christianity. I do not know which crime I committed because I have been receiving threats and the authorities kept ignoring them not knowing it would result into this,” Pastor Mulinde said.
Three days after the attack, local police arrested a man who is currently in custody. His identity has not been revealed, however Pastor Mulinde says he did catch a glimpse of the man just before he threw the acid at him. The suspect also shouted “Allah Akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic) as he committed the heinous act, before fleeing the church.
Doctors at the International Hospital Kampala are not providing much information about Pastor Mulinde”s condition, but it is believed that he has lost the vision in his right eye and suffered extensive facial disfigurement.
Police say the suspect is in their custody but they would not reveal his identity because the case is still at a sensitive stage. “One person has been arrested and he is helping us with the investigations,” the police spokesman, Mr Asuman Mugenyi, said.