The Dodowa District Police Command fired several warning shots at the Afienya Central Mosque last Friday to avert bloodshed following escalating intra-religious tension in the area.
The timely intervention of the police averted a bloody clash between the Al-Sunna and the Tijaniyya Muslim sects over who has the right to pray and preach at the Afienya Central Mosque.
This is the second time the police have had to intervene to prevent a clash this year. The two sects have been fighting over the mosque for over seven years now.
The two sects regularly preach against each other’s beliefs, creating ethnic tensions under the guise of religion, especially at their Juma prayers on Fridays.
Following intelligence of a possible clash gathered by Superintendent Kwesi Ofori, the Dodowa District Police Commander, he moved his officers to cordon off the premises of the mosque and searched worshippers before they entered the mosque for congregational prayer.
Superintendent Ofori then met leaders of the two sects to ensure that peace prevails. During the meeting, tempers flared and the two sects became violent, compelling the police to fire several warning shots to disperse the two factions and restore calm. No one was arrested.
Last Friday’s skirmishes surprised the Dodowa District Police Command because the leaders of the two sects had pledged to maintain peace after dialoguing with Superintendent Kwesi Ofori and Chief Superintendent Abdul Rauf, the National Police Imam, when a similar incident occurred on January 3, 2014.
Superintendent Ofori said, “The police will continue to up their primacy and authority on the ground, and I can assure the vulnerable and law-abiding citizens of Afienya that the police will not spare anybody should we grab them attempting to incite tension or do anything silly to escalate intra-religious tension.”