A Muslim faction has been forced to hold Eid –El-Fitr prayers in a restaurant after failing to forcefully take over the disputed Masaka Central Mosque.
Sheikh Bulhan Bagunduuse, the rival Masaka district Kadhi, who went missing after police issued his arrest warrant for leading a violent attack on Central Masaka Mosque last month returned on Tuesday and announced he would take over offices at the Mosque.
Masaka Central Mosque is under the control of Sheikh Swaibu Ndugga, who belongs to the Kibuli based faction. Both groups claim ownership of this Mosque with Sheikh Huzairu Kiruuta, former Masaka Kadhi and Bulhan Bagunduuse, who succeeded him claiming it belongs to them since Uganda Muslim Supreme Council constructed it.
Sheikh Bagunduuse’s threats of a fresh attack and forceful take over Masaka Central Mosque on Eid-El-Fitr day forced police and his rivals to deploy militias to protect it from attack.
As result, Sheikh Bagunduuse, Sheikh Huzairu Kiruuta,and Ali Matovu,the Chairperson Masaka Muslim Supreme Council led their supporters and conducted Eid El-Fitr prayers inside Kitenda Catering Services Restaurant along Naludugavu Street close to Byansi Medical Centre.
Sheikh Bagunduuse claims that they were forced to pray inside Kitenda Catering Services Restaurant after getting information that their enemies, Sheikh Swaibu Ndugga and Jamil Mbuga, the Imam of Masaka Central Mosque had wanted to arrest them and assault them.
Bagunduuse further alleges that Ndugga has ordered some of his followers to trail him. Bagunduse, however, will not renounce his earlier position on the June attack on Central Masaka Mosque. Two Muslims were injured during the attack. Bagunduse says the same group had in 2009 assaulted Sheikh Kiruuta injuring him seriously before illegally evicting him from his office.
Sheikh Bagunduuse, who was speaking in Luganda, says he will not stop fighting for the takeover of Central Mosque because he has all the documents that mandate him as custodian under Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
However, Sheikh Ismail Musisi who disputes Bagunduuse’s leadership of the Masaka Muslim Supreme Council says they will not allow Bagunduuse to take over their Mosque. He says they have started erecting a fence around the Mosque to protect it from encroachment.
Musisi asked Muslims who turned up for Eid El-Fitr prayers to contribute money towards this cause.
Jamil Mbuga, Imam of Masaka Central Mosque, says they have deployed vigilant groups around the Mosque to guard against takeover.
Shakira Nalweyiso, a Muslim faithful, says she is tired of the escalating Muslim wrangles. She says these wrangles embarrass the faith.
Kibra Ntensibe, another Muslim faithful, says it is difficult to resolve the Muslims wrangles becauass they are historical. He claims that the Kabwejere inquiry established by Museveni to investigate cause of this wrangles was a waste of time.
MP Mathias Mpuuga of Masaka Municipality disagrees. MP Mpuuga who also joined Muslims to mark end of Ramadan at Masaka Cenrral Mosque instead said there are political leaders fueling the Muslim wrangles to divide and rule Uganda.