The head of the Anglican Church in Uganda has criticised the Archbishops of Canterbury and York after they warned against victimising gay citizens.

They made the remarks on Friday in a letter sent to the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria, countries which have recently introduced anti-gay legislation.

In their letter Archbishops Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York recalled the words of the communiqué issued in 2005 after a meeting of Primates from across the Communion in Dromantine.

They said: “The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give – pastoral care and friendship.’”

In response, Uganda’s Archbishop Stanley Ntagali said: “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture”.

The Anglican leader said he hoped the Church of England would “step back from the path” it had set itself on “so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church”.

Archbishop Ntagali said the Church of Uganda had been encouraged that the country’s parliament had amended the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, and make other provisions of the bill less severe – all amendments which he said the Church had recommended.

In December, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

However, President Yoweri Museveni will reportedly only sign Uganda’s anti-gay bill into law if he has proof that gay people are ‘made’ and ‘not born’ into their sexuality.

President Museveni announced he would not be signing the bill last month, leading to a furious response from Ugandan MPs and Anglicans who support the law.

The Ugandan Church, along with others in Africa, has broken its ties with Anglicans in North America over the issue of gay ordinations and same-sex blessings.

Archbishop Ntagali believes Anglican leaders from the US and Canada should not be invited to the 2018 Lambeth Conference.

The Church of England does ordain gay clergy as long as they are celibate.

Archbishop Welby, who is head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is currently on a five-day African visit.