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Christian pastor beheaded in Uganda after public debate

PALLISA, Uganda — Muslim extremists are suspected in the May 3 beheading of a Christian pastor in Uganda hours after he engaged in a public debate about Christianity and Islam.

Independent Pentecostal pastor Thomas Chikooma was killed following a debate in Pallisa town, where he led 14 people — six of them Muslim — to faith in Christ.

Chikooma, father of 11 children, was a well-known evangelist who had planted 50 churches in eastern Uganda.

Area Muslims had invited him to participate in the month-long, public discussion in a Pallisa park. After he defended Christianity and led some of the people to Jesus, angry Muslims shouted a jihadist slogan. The pastor rushed from the venue.

Following a commotion at a traffic intersection with two motorcyclists who referenced the debate, Chikooma was later found beheaded not far from his home in Komolo village.

His tongue also had been removed, Chikooma’s wife said.

Uganda’s laws and constitution allow the propagation of one’s faith. Muslims comprise no more than 12% of the country’s total population.

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