Police on Wednesday morning closed Masjid Noor Mosque along William Street, Kampala amid rising anger and allegations that a section of Muslims from another faction have taken over the mosque.
Police and security officers led by Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Mr Haruna Isabirye have also deployed at the Mosque to ensure security.
This follows allegations that four people came in the wee hours of morning (2:00am), entered the mosque through the roof, scared away the two people who were manning the place and locked themselves from inside.
However, Afande Isabirye aised the worshippers who had converged in large numbers at the Mosque that the place be locked down until the situation calms down.
“To avert any likely blood shed, I suggest we close the mosque until the situation calms down,” said the Kampala Metropolitan Police chief.
But the enraged Muslims who usually conduct their prayers from the Mosque are demanding that the place be opened so that they can be able to conduct their prayers and the two culprits who are believed to be still locked inside be apprehended.
This comes after four members of the executive were stripped of the powers to run William Street Mosque. They include Sheik Swidiq Ndaula, Sheik Mustapha Bahiga, Hajj Najib Ssonko and Sheik Hassan Kirya.
The decision followed complaints from worshippers that the officials had dominated the affairs of the mosque for years yet they also sit on the national executive committee.
“A mosque is supposed to have its own management committee, but surprisingly all the affairs have been run by members of the top executive committee .So ,this is unfair and we cannot move like that,” Hajj Umar Ausi Kamoga ,the publicity secretary on the new mosque committee said in an interview with Daily Monitor on Monday.
The worshippers also accuse their leaders of serving for nine years without their mandate and failing to give proper accountabilities of the money collected from the mosque.
Others elected on the mosque committee include, Hajj Haruna Saazi Mabira ,chairperson ,Salim Kasujja(Secretary) ,Hajj Abdulhamid Kiganila ( Treasurer), Abdul Hamid Salim and Hamiis Matovu( both in charge of Defence ) and Sheik Hassan Nyanzi and Yonus Kabenge( Imams)
But Sheik Kirya, who also doubles as the spokesperson of the Kibuli-based Muslim administration said the new team was illegally installed and insisting that the old management is the one supposed to run the mosque.
The mosque, located on Plot 30 William Street has been under contention since 2005 .The Muslim youths seized control of it the same year following reports that the administration of Mufti Shaban Mubajje at Old Kampala had sold it to city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba through his firm, Haks Express Ltd who later sold it to another businessman Mr Drake Lubega at $2milion .It houses at least 50 shops and a mosque.
Despite Muslims occupying it and collecting dues from shops, Lubaga still insists that it belongs to him and the property legally belongs to him and possesses the title deed. There are unconfirmed reports that government has since compensated Lubega and the property reverted to the Muslims.
This development comes barely a week after two Muslim leaders were gunned down by yet to be known assailants.
Sheikh Dactoor Abdu Kadir Muwaya, the leader of the Shia Muslim Community in Uganda was shot dead at his home in Mayuge district on Thursday (Christmas Day) at around 9.30pm local time (EAT).
Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga was on Monday evening also shot five times and killed, bringing to seven, the tally of top Muslim clerics murdered in just two years.
However, the police said last evening that they were closing in on a big group of hit men.
Last evening, Police Spokesman Fred Enanga said they were now working on intelligence information that could eventually lead to the arrest of key suspects in Bahiga’s murder.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor