A number of people yesterday sustained gunshot wounds at Atebubu in the Brong-Ahafo Region, as Muslim youth belonging to the Alissuna wal Jama’a sec engaged the police in an open-air gun battle.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that the Muslim youth, numbering over 1,000, stormed the SDA church premises near the Atebubu Government Hospital on Friday afternoon after the mid-day prayers with guns and offensive weapons and set the newly built mission house ablaze and further brought down the walls around the church and demolished the temple.
The presence of the police did not deter the irate Zongo youth, as they exchanged fire with the small number of police personnel present and overpowered the security agency.
They placed the entire area under siege, throwing stones at anybody who dared come closer including the police.
Eyewitnesses informed DAILY GUIDE that the Muslim youth went berserk after the wall they were constructing on a disputed land around the SDA Church was demolished by the police, based on a court order.
According to residents, the two religious organisations are claiming ownership of a parcel of land in the area.
The said land, which the SDA Church allegedly acquired in 1967, houses the church’s mission house, temple and school.
Eyewitnesses mentioned that the Alissuna sect have also been using a section of the disputed land as prayer grounds during the Eid festivities, especially the annual break of Ramadan fasting, and insisted that they have documents covering the land.
A member of the Church hinted DAILY GUIDE that the leadership of the SDA Church reported the matter to the Atebubu Traditional Council, District Chief Executive and the District Police Command to intervene in the impasse.
However, efforts by the various groups to settle the impasse did not materialise, compelling the SDA church to resort to the court.
The church succeeded in securing an interim injunction to restrain the Muslims from continuing with the wall project.
However, reports said the Muslim sect continued the project despite the court injunction.
The police were compelled to move to the site on Friday at the time the Muslim group was working there, resulting in the chaos.
Meanwhile, a reinforcement team has been dispatched to Atebubu to restore law and order.
The Brong-Ahafo Regional Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Christopher Tawiah, said police patrol teams at nearby districts and commands including Special Weapon Tactics Team (SWAT) as well as Crime Scene Management team from the Regional Headquarters have since been dispatched to the town.
‘The Regional Police Commander is in a good position to make sure that the situation is brought under control,’ he stated.
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