There was confusion in Ikun community in Moba Local government Area of Ekiti State on Tuesday evening as Muslims in the community and masquerade worshippers clashed at the central mosque in the community.
The crisis, it was gathered was as a result of a clash in the timing of the breaking of the day’s ramadan fast by the Muslims, who had converged on the Ansar-ud-Deen Central Mosque in the community and the procession of the masqueraders with their “Àjàgùnmàlè” deity.
It was gathered that the fasting Muslims had converged on the central mosque in the community to break their fast and pray, while the traditionalists were said to have also begun their procession at about the same time.
A source in the Ikun claimed that “in the community, the tradition is that when the masqueraders, which is once in three years, hold their procession, any form of noise is not tolerated. It is done in absolute silence. But the Muslims’ call to prayer was done at about the same time and this, I believe, caused the clash.”
The Muslim worshippers were said to have been beaten with cudgels, stones and metals, resulting in varying degrees of injuries to them, just as the mosque was vandalised.
Windscreens of two cars vehicles parked in the mosque were also smashed just as the glass panes of the mosque’s windows.
The Imam of the mosque, Alh Abdul-Rasak Abubakar-Bello, received a head injury and was treated at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital in Ado Ekiti (EKSUTH), while five other worshippers were also injured.
Abubakar-Bello said they were held hostage in the mosque for hours by the masqueraders, who he said threatened to kill them, saying “there was no way we could escape because they laid siege outside the mosque after initially attacking us inside the mosque with iron and woody rods.
When we succeeded in locking ourselves inside the mosque, they started throwing stones at us.”
The Muslim community alleged that the police ignored their distress calls while also alleging that Oba Olusola supervised the attack.
The National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), in a statement, also condemned the attack and also accused the Oba Olatunde and the Police of complicity in the crisis.
Oba Olatunde has however responded saying; “there has always been crisis between them because the shrine is very close to the mosque; that is why we took the step of informing the various bodies beforehand, to avoid trouble. Because they have to go to their shrine, there’s always trouble that is why I wrote a letter to them to ask them to do their thing and it takes less than one hour.”
He said the Muslim community had met with the traditional council and they had agreed that there would not be noise during the time of the procession, pointing out that “I gave them another option of using the other mosques in the town instead of the one close to the shrine, all in a bid to avert trouble.”
According to him, “in the full glare of everybody, when the Egungun procession was coming at about 6:35 or 6:40, the call for prayers began to ring out and it was a surprise to everybody. They even threw a missile from upstairs which smashed one of the vehicles parked at the mosque. If not that the processing traditionalists avoided the missile, they would have been injured. That was how they started retaliating.”
He said his intervention had saved the day, saying “if not for my quick intervention, because I sent my chiefs to intervene immediately, it would have escalated and it would have been a very bad situation. If they had done their prayers quietly, there wouldn’t have been any crisis.”
Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the Ekiti State police command, Mr Alberto Adeyemi, said the clash between the masqueraders and Muslims had been brought under control and normalcy has been restored to the community.