7 Family members filmed beating Muslim girl for attending church prayers arrested

Police authorities in Kibuku District, located in eastern Uganda, have taken into custody a family consisting of seven members following their involvement in an incident where a teenage girl was subjected to severe corporal punishment for allegedly attending a church fellowship.

The distressing video footage, which rapidly circulated on various social media platforms such as TikTok and X (previously known as Twitter), depicted two men forcefully restraining the young girl on the ground while other family members relentlessly whipped her.

The family members, captured in the video, can be heard chastising the girl, identified as 18-year-old Shakira Naula, for her attendance at a Pentecostal church service led by Pastor Nicholas Kitibwa at the Kadama Prayer Convention Church.

Samuel Semewo, the spokesperson for the North Bukedi Regional Police, verified the occurrence, stating that the pastor, aged 38, had filed an assault complaint at the Kibuku Police Station.

According to Semewo, the girl endured a harrowing ordeal of receiving 100 lashes from her family members. Among those apprehended are individuals named Yusuf Nantege (28), Mohammad Wapesa (24), Jaberi Lumans (25), Uthuman Koosi (25), Issa Wasereye (24), and Ziyadi Musenero (29).

It was revealed that the girl’s mother had departed for Saudi Arabia for employment as a domestic worker, leaving her daughter in the care of one of the detainees.

“Naula allegedly persisted in attending nearby church services against the wishes of her guardians… She had participated in an overnight prayer session at the church, and upon her uncles’ arrival to collect her the next morning, the pastor insisted that she remain because she was leading the church choir in worship,” Semewo explained.

He further stated, “Upon her return home, she was met by her waiting relatives who proceeded to assault her with lashes. Each family member administered five to ten lashes in succession. This incident is deeply regrettable and concerning.”

The disturbing video sparked outrage among the Ugandan public, prompting the authorities to take swift action and detain the implicated individuals.

Under the Ugandan Constitution, individuals aged 18 are recognized as adults and are entitled to the freedom to worship and associate freely.