Chief Imam apologises for NDC-NPP clash

By The Statesman
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By The Statesman

3/31/2008 10:41:38 AM -

The National Chief Imam Sheikh Uthman Nuhu Sharubutu has apologised for his role in Friday's confrontation between supporters of the NDC and NPP at his residence in Fadama.

In a statement issued by his secretariat, Sheikh Sharubutu said the clash was due to miscalculations by his office made in scheduling the two visits by the presidential candidates of the two main political parties in Ghana.

The statement from the Sheikh described the clash as an "embarrassment' since it happened on the eve of Prophet Mohammed's Birthday.

Supporters of Nana Akufo-Addo were attacked by supporters of John Evans Atta Mills, who were angry about their path being blocked when they were returning from an NDC mini rally at Fadama with the NDC leader and got to the front of the Chief Imam's office where the NPP presidential candidate had just completed paying a courtesy call on the Moslem leader last Friday.

Prof Mills had earlier paid a courtesy call, too, without any incident, though there were NPP supporters there awaiting Nana Akufo-Addo's delayed arrival.

According to Anim Obiri, a leading member of the NPP Committee on Operations and Logistics, Nana Akufo-Addo had received an invitation from the Chief Imam to attend Saturday's birthday celebrations of the Prophet Mohammed.

But, since the flagbearer was going to be out of town, Nana Akufo-Addo suggested paying his respect last Friday. That meeting was scheduled for 11:00am. Thursday evening, Obiri said when he went back to the Chief Imam to deliver some customary gifts, 'at no point was it made known to me that Prof Mills was also scheduled to arrive at 11:30am. But, the next morning we received a call from the Chief Imam's office that because he had some other functions to attend, they would plead with us to push the visit forward to 10:30am. But that was not possible since other arrangements had been scheduled for Nana.'

Mr Obiri said, the meeting was pushed back to 12:00pm. 'Nana remained on stand by until the NDC crowd had departed before he was signaled to come.'

But Kobby Acheampong, a member of the Mills' entourage, who said he witnessed no violence, as earlier reported, said when Prof Mills paid his visit to the Chief Imam, there were some NPP supporters there too but the atmosphere was friendly.

The clash happened when, according to Mr Acheampong, women in the NDC entourage refused to obey police advice that the NDC convoy takes an alternative route to avoid any potential clash with the NPP.

The Chief Imam's statement expressed regret about the use of abusive language. The statement, however, denied "categorically reports that some people were injured in the confrontation. There is no iota of truth in the reports."

The statement challenged persons alleging that some people were injured to prove it. Meanwhile, newspapers and radio stations went to the Police Hospital to interview some four women who were on admission receiving treatment. The women, who accompanied Nana Akufo-Addo to the Chief Imam's, said they were attacked by NDC goons. They showed their injuries to the media.

Meanwhile thousands of Muslims across the country on Saturday thronged the residence of the chief Imam to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Mohammed who was born some 1400 years ago.

Joy News' Sammy Darko reported that it was a night of feast as food and music flew with careless abandon.

The streets of Fadama, were full of joyous Muslims.

The period is used by Muslims to reaffirm their faith in Islam and share the good tidings of Allah.

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