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Uneasy calm at Nima, Mamobi: 9 arrested - Chief Imam urges restraint

BY: Emelia Enin Abbey
ACP Kwesi Ofori, Director of Police Public Affairs
ACP Kwesi Ofori, Director of Police Public Affairs

There is uneasy calm at Nima, a suburb of Accra, and adjoining Mamobi in the Ayawaso East municipality following clashes between two rival groups.

There was sporadic shooting on the streets of Nima last Tuesday as some young men wielding guns and other weapons, such as machetes and clubs, from either group attempted to overpower members of the other.

The police moved in to contain the violence and arrested nine people in connection with the clash.

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, has condemned the violent clash and called for restraint on the part of the factions and the youth.

Those the police arrested included Abdul Gafari Mohammed, Bashir Ganiyu, Mohammed Saidu Baribui, Attawurah Basson and Gariba Abdul Mumin.

The rest are Abdul Aziz Sulemana, Imoro Ibrahim, Issah Seidu and Elliasu Salim.

The police retrieved 12 empty cartridges, a live bullet and three AAA live ammunition from the scene at Nima.

Other items found and retained to aid investigations included a pistol magazine, two machetes, two knives, a toy pistol and two mobile phones.

Two persons, including a commercial motorbike rider, popularly referred to as ‘Okada rider’, are in critical condition at the 37 Military Hospital after they were hit by a stray bullet during the shooting.

One of them also sustained deep matchete cuts on the neck and the back.

A barbering shop was also vandalised in the process.

The police have since intensified patrols in the area and mounted snap checkpoints where they stop moving vehicles and check their occupants and content.

A number of young people said to be members of the two groups have allegedly fled the area for fear of being arrested by the police.

Visit to Nima

When the Daily Graphic visited Nima in the early hours of yesterday, residents were seen going about their daily activities, even though some claimed they were afraid of reprisal attacks.

There was heavy deployment of policemen, with police riot vehicles stationed at vantage points near the Nima Market, the Nima Roundabout and along the Nima Highway.

Investigations

The Director-General of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr Kwesi Ofori, said the people behind the incident were being pursued to face justice.

In line with that, he said, a special intelligence and surveillance team had been deployed to Nima, Mamobi and adjoining communities in pursuit of the remaining members of the two gangster groups.

Preliminary investigations, he said, indicated that the violent disturbance was occasioned by a misunderstanding between the two gangster groups, namely, the ‘Bombom group’, led by one Ali Awudi, alias Bomba, and the ‘Kumodzi group’, led by one Ibrahim Hussain, based at Mamobi and Nima Gutter, respectively.

Investigations also established that Kumodzi, who controlled the Nima-based group, went to the Mamobi ‘black market’ to transact foreign exchange business.

While he was there, the two gangster groups violently attacked each other, in the course of which some gang members and two ‘black market’ currency dealers were hit and injured.

Arrest from hideout

He said seven out of the nine suspects arrested were currently in police custody assisting with investigations, while the rest, who sustained varying degrees of injury, were at the Police Hospital in Accra under police guard.

He said the police, through intelligence, found out that one of the people captured on video in respect of the violence was hiding at Ashalaja.

A team of policemen proceeded to the location yesterday and arrested Seidu and Elliasu, he said.

A search conducted in the house in which they were arrested led to the retrieval of a pump action gun, an unregistered motorbike and a military camouflage uniform, he added.

Gang leaders wanted

Describing the incident as ‘gangsterism’ and mass violence, ACP Ofori said preliminary investigations had so far established that it started about 3:30 p.m. last Tuesday, and that the timely intervention of the police helped to restore order.

He said the police had established that the violence was caused by the Hussein/Kumodzi rival groups who had been opposing each other.

He said the leaders of the groups had been declared wanted, with GH¢20,000 bounty placed on their heads and appealed to the public to assist by volunteering information that would lead to their arrest.

ACP Ofori said those arrested would be subjected to investigations and those found culpable arraigned.

“The Police Administration will not look on unconcerned for hoodlums and criminals to take over the streets. We will nip violence and gangsterism in the area in the bud,” he said.

He stressed that the police would continue to patrol the area to protect lives and properties there.

Chief Imam

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, expressed disappointment over the violent clash among the groups in Nima-Mamobi, communities with a large Muslim population, reports Dickson Worlanyo Dotse.

Condemning the clash during a courtesy call on him by 16 Regional Chief Imams at his Fadama residence in Accra, Sheikh Sharubutu urged the youth to avoid dispute among themselves and rather live in peace and stay united, stressing: “Togetherness is God’s mercy.”

Do not dispute

The National Chief Imam urged all Muslims to embrace diversity, which he said did not give room for “war among people”.

He added that the people and the youth of the two adjoining communities should support and help one another, and that peace was the source of all good.

“The best thing for us is to get more united because Allah has indicated in the Quran that ‘do not dispute among yourselves’,” he said.

Furthermore, he instructed members of the Muslim community to live in peace with non-Muslims so long as they had not stood in the way of their worship and not chased them out of their homes.

The Spokesperson of the Chief Imam, Sheikh Arimiyaw Shaibu, described the incident as an eyesore and not in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

He entreated Muslim youth in Accra and across the country to respect and uphold the sanctity of human lives.

He added that the Chief Imam had charged all Imams across the country to make peace and unity a key subject in their Friday sermons.

Create wealth

The National Imam for the Ahlu Sunna, Sheikh Umar Ibrahim, urged the Muslim community to rise up and create wealth, adding that the cause of all violence among adherents of Islam was poverty.

“The source of violence in Nigeria, Mali and, therefore, Ghana is poverty, so we must rise up and create wealth,” he said.

Sheikh Ibrahim said that was the reason Allah commanded the Prophet Mohamed to collect the ‘Sadaqah’ — dues paid by the wealthy among the Muslim community — for the benefit of the poor.

The Ahlu Sunna National Imam also said Muslims ought to conduct their affairs through consultation, stating that Allah Himself commanded the Prophet Mohammed to use consultation to resolve matters, and that was why the conference that brought together all Chief Imams was a great achievement.

Concerns

In interactions with the Daily Graphic, some residents of Nima said the two rival groups were popular at Nima and Mamobi, as their leaders, Kumodzi and Bomba, were appointed and had followers who were at their beck and call.

Some people said the clash started after a member of a rival group allegedly exchanged foreign currency and provoked a member of the opposing group.
Gunshot marks in the roof of a shop were seen.

The owner of the shop, who gave his name only as Haruna, said his shop was shot into during the clash.

He said although he was busy with some business activities, he was forced to lock up and leave for home through a back door for fear of being hit by a bullet.

An eyewitness and opinion leader in the community, Musa Wahab, expressed concern over the violence in the area.

“This is a bad example for the younger generation. It is not good and we must stop it. We cannot have young men fighting one another with guns and machetes like this,” he said.

Another resident of Nima, Mr Karim Abdul, said the development had been a regular one in the community over the years.

He said many people owned guns and used them at will, adding that “some people have lost their lives and it is becoming a problem”.