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Muslims Allegedly Poison Pastor over Plans for Church Building

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Muslims in eastern Uganda upset with a pastor’s plans to build a church on land they sought to buy are suspected in his death by poisoning, sources said.

Pastor Yolonim Oduchu was poisoned on April 5 in Raraka village, Oloki Sub-County, Pallisa District after he declined to sell a five-acre lot within the Raraka trading center to Muslims who wanted to build a school and mosque on the land, said his brother, Francis Okirya.

“Aliasa Opeduru and a number of Muslims had approached my brother to sell them the piece of land several times, but my brother declined because their offer was small, and he also wanted to have part of the land set aside for constructing a church structure,” Okirya said. “Later my brother received a threatening message from Opeduru saying he would not negotiate with him again.”

The Muslims had found a sponsor in Turkey to fund the construction of the mosque, he said.

Opeduru told Pastor Oduchu the Muslims did not want a church building close to their proposed mosque, but a week later the pastor began clearing the parcel of land, Okirya said.

A resident of Raraka village, Pastor Oduchu usually ate at a small hotel at the Raraka trading center when visiting his land. The hotel is owned by a Muslim.

The pastor’s wife said after a light meal at the hotel on April 5, he arrived home feeling ill.

“My husband took a motorcycle and arrived at home complaining of severe stomach pains, diarrhea and started vomiting,” Mary Oduchu told Morning Star News. “We rushed him to a nearby clinic, and he succumbed to poisoning.”

Pastor Oduchu was the father of eight children, ages 2 to 16.

After his burial on April 10, his brother returned the following day to retrieve a spade he had left there and found blood sprinkled on top of the grave and papers with writing in Arabic, Okirya said.

Okirya called other mourners and community members who were equally shocked by the desecration.

Area sources said that when angry residents questioned the hotel owner, he confessed that Muslims had given him poison and instructed him to put it in Pastor Oduchu’s food.

Source: Morning Star News

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