THE HEADQUARTERS of the Apostles Revelation Society (ARS) at Tadzewu in the Volta Region is currently under tight security following violent clashes between members of the church and the Police last Monday December 24 during the celebration of the 68th anniversary of the church.
Two policemen sustained injuries in the clash, which was caused by a dispute between two factions within the church over money from offertory and who should officiate at the church's anniversary celebration.
The Police were said to have restrained a group of demonstrators led by Joshua Kpodo and Dominic Abrokwah, both members of the church, from having access to the offertory bowls which they (the demonstrators) allegedly attempted to snatch, shortly after a massive offering by the church members.
The demonstrators, believed to be supporters of Apostle James Amegah, a leader of one of the factions in the church, were said to be against those officiating the service that day. DAILY GUIDE has reliably learnt that the three offertory bowls containing the monies are currently with the Dzodze Police.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE, the Volta Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector Joy Afagbedzi, disclosed that ARS started its annual convention on Friday December 21, after two factions in the church had appealed to the Ketu District Security Council to allow the celebration, with an assurance to ensure peace.
Inspector Afagbedzi said based on an undertaking and consensus by the factions to ensure peace at the ceremony they were allowed to go ahead with the celebration in spite of a court injunction.
In view of the agreement, he added, the factions were made to nominate eight members each, including Apostle Amegah and three others, who constituted a group called the 12 Apostles Group, to help organize the occasion in a peaceful manner.
The Police PRO continued that 60 policemen were then deployed to the area to maintain law and order.
He disclosed that the event started peacefully that day, until around 9:30pm when one Kofi Amedziko of the 12 Apostles Group allegedly interrupted the session, being led by Apostle Amegah.
This resulted in exchanges from the factions, who were hooting at one another, until some elders of the church came in to save the situation.
However, after calm had been restored, there was another misunderstanding as a result of a power outage allegedly caused by one Apostle C. Gbeku when Apostle Attipoe, the leader of one of the factions was preaching.
The incidents, the Inspector said, compelled the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Bernard Derry to summon the two factions, the Attipoe and Amegah factions, who agreed to officiate together in peace.
A Member of the Council of State, Mr. Asonaba Dapaah, who is a member of the church, said he met the two factions on Sunday December 23, where they again agreed to ensure a peaceful celebration.
Inspector Afagbedzi said the celebration went on peacefully until the demonstrators, carrying placards with various inscriptions that they wanted Apostle Amegah to lead proceedings, invaded the venue and made for the collection bowls.
This situation, he said, prompted the police to rush in to restore order, but this resulted in exchanges leading to the injury of the two policemen including one G/C2 Gideon Amuzu, who sustained injuries on the head.
Eight people who were arrested in connection with the incident have however been released on police inquiry bail.
The injured policemen have also been treated and discharged. DAILY GUIDE learnt that some members of the church were also injured in the incident.
Some members of the church are blaming the police for being unprofessional in handling the situation since, according to them, the situation could have been contained without the use of tear gas.
The Apostles Revelation Society has for sometime now been hit by serious in-fighting over who should take over the administration of the church following the death of its founder and leader Mawufeame Wovenu.
Since then, the church's anniversary celebrations have been characterized by confusion, except last year, when the intervention of the Volta Regional Police led to a peaceful celebration.
From Edem Adesi, Ho