Battle for Masaka Mosque: Four Muslim Leaders arrested

Four Muslim leaders have been arrested in connection with deadly clashes at Masaka Central Mosque in which at least two people were injured.
Four Muslim leaders have been arrested in connection with deadly clashes at Masaka Central Mosque in which at least two people were injured.The suspects are Hassan Galiwango, Musa Ntaro, Yasin Nsubuga, and Juma Mayanja, all supporters of Sheikh Buruhan Bagunduuse, the rival Masaka district Kadhi. Bagunduuse is loyal to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council faction of Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, the Mufti of Uganda.

Police are also now hunting for Sheikh Bagunduuse for instigating and leading the violence.

The suspects are accused of forcefully breaking into the offices of Masaka Central Mosque which sparked off deadly clashes. The incident happened early on Monday morning when a group of Muslims loyal Sheikh Mubajje stormed Masaka Central Mosque and broke into the offices with intention of grabbing it. The Central Mosque and its leaders are loyal to the Kibuli faction of self-styled Supreme Mufti, Sheikh Zubair Kayongo.

Eyewitnesses say they were sleeping when they heard people breaking into the offices of Sheikh Swaibu Nduga, the rival Masaka district Kadhi, who is also loyal to the Kibuli Muslim faction.

Musa Suuna, one of the Muslims guarding the mosque, says he saw Sheikh Bagunduuse with about 20 people using iron bars to break into the offices. He claims that when he intervened, Sheikh Bagunduuse assaulted him and his colleague identified as Biraal Ahmed. Both Musa Suuna and Biraal Ahmed suffered serious head injuries and are receiving treatment at the Central Mosque clinic.

Biraal claims that after assaulting them, Bagunduuse’s group locked them in the toilet and continued breaking into the offices.

Sheikh Umar Sserungoji, one of the Muslim leaders at Masaka central Mosque has condemned what he called violent attack and grabbing of the mosque. He says the attack led by Sheikh Bagunduuse is an act of indiscipline from a person who is supposed to lead Muslims.

Sheikh Jamil Mbuga, the Imam of Masaka Central Mosque says the door to his offices was broken and some files taken away during the attack. He says they recovered a mobile phone which belongs to Sheikh Bagunduuse and they are going to use it as evidence to open a criminal case against him.

Sheikh Buruhan Bagunduuse, however, denies participating in the raid. He is away from his home located in Kimanya but tells Uganda Radio Network from an unknown location that whatever is said about him is rubbish.

Noah Sserunjoji, the Southern Region Police Spokesperson, says the police are investigating the attack and whoever took part faces charges of criminal trespass, inciting violence and attempted murder.
At the time of filing this report security had been beefed up at Masaka Central Mosque ahead of a crisis meeting between Muslims and Masaka District Security committee.

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