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Police cordon off William Street Mosque, arrest 14 people

By Eddie Ssejjoba and Douglas Mubiru

Added 7th July 2020 05:27 PM

The mosque has been at the centre of infighting and controversy among the different Muslims factions.

Police cordon off William Street Mosque, arrest 14 people

The Masjid Noor Mosque along William Street in Kampala

The mosque has been at the centre of infighting and controversy among the different Muslims factions.

Crime 

The Police in Kampala recently cordoned off William Street Masjid Noor Mosque in the city centre and forcibly evicted a faction of Muslims (Tabliq) who have been managing the commercial sections of the premises.

Armed Police Field Force Unit (FFU) personnel raided the mosque in the night, sealing it off.

The mosque has been at the centre of infighting and controversy among the different Muslims factions. At least 14 Muslims were arrested during the takeover of the property.

Police said they handed the mosque to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC).

The suspects, according to the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman, Patrick Onyango, will be charged with various offences, including obstruction, threatening violence, criminal trespass and embezzlement.

They included Ayub Nyende and Haruna Kasujja, the faction leaders, who allegedly pelted the Police with stones and tried to resist the takeover.

Police said the suspects were being detained at various Police stations in the Kampala Metropolitan Police area.

"Following our earlier communication we have arrested 14 suspects, who were resisting the takeover of the properties by Uganda Muslim Supreme Council," a statement signed by Onyango read.

"We want to inform the general public that William Street Mosque and the tenants who have been operating from the properties will not be affected.

They will continue to pay their obligations to UMSC." Onyango, who said the exercise was conducted by a joint security team, argued that the security personnel were in place to witness the takeover of the properties in Central division, Kampala by UMSC.

The UMSC officials who turned up to receive the properties included the council's chairperson, Haji Musa Mutyaba, the officer in charge of Muslim assets, the new Imam Shaikh Mustafa Gayira, Sheikh Ibrahim Bahoteni, Issa Asuman and Sheikh Musa Kagada.

Speaking to journalists, Sadiq Musa Lugandwa, who said he is the chief co-ordinator of Muslims in Kampala Metropolitan area, said the main issue was failure to account for the money collected from the property.

Lugandwa said the property has been generating at least sh100m every month, but the management had failed to account for over sh12b, which they had allegedly collected since 2012.

He accused Nyende, the secretary general of Jamyati Dawa Talafiya, an organisation that has been managing the mosque and one Haruna Miradi, a top executive, of failing to provide proper accountability for the funds.

There were other reports that the raid on the William street mosque was connected to the arrest of suspected Allied Democratic Front (ADF) recruits in Mpigi on Saturday.

There were accusations that the outgoing management was ‘misleading the youth into criminality'.

The William Street mosque became a centre of controversy when businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba allegedly leased it from the UMSC and later sold it to another businessman, Drake Lubega.

President Yoweri Museveni later intervened and said the Government would pay off Lubega to recover the mosque.

The Tabliq Muslims leaders consequently took control of the mosque.

A few years ago, some of the Tabliq Muslim leaders who were key actors in the William Street Mosque matters, namely sheikhs Muhammad Yunus Kamoga, his brother Murta Mudde Bukenya, Siraje Kawooya and Fahad Kalungi were arrested, tried and convicted on terrorism charges.

They were sentenced to life in jail, but were acquitted of the murder charges. They were also accused of having links with the ADF.

Photo by Ramadhan Abbey 

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