16th December 2018
Mosque Burnt as Fuel Station Owner and Muslims Fight & USA Reacts in Freetown!
By a press release (08/11/18)
The most popular Mosque in Lumley was burnt down on Tuesday as bloody fight ensued between Muslims and a Fuel Station businessman.
Reports say the chaotic incident happened in Lumley, West End of Freetown, between a stubborn Fuel Station Owner, whose name was not readily available and angry Muslim worshippers late on Tuesday evening. (Photo: Muslim worshippers openly praying on the street in Lumley).
The businessman is alleged to have instructed many thugs to demolish the popular mosque in simply because Muslims going for their daily prayers were often seen passing through his Fuel Station environment to have quick access to the Mosque.
In the heat of the commotion, tempers flare and angry Muslim Jamaat retaliated by confronting the businessman and subsequently demolished the fuel pumps at the Gas Station.
Things got hotter at 1:30pm when police and security officials immediately stopped Muslim worshippers, who were there to observe the afternoon prayers, from entering the Mosque.
Reports say the police intervention and their heavy handedness did not go down well with the Muslim population and so the worshippers, there and then, decided to observe their prayers on the street, thus creating an artificial traffic jam in the Lumley area. (Photo: Inspector General of Police Dr. Richard Moigbe).
"The police officers are making things worse by denying the people from entering the mosque for prayers," eyewitnesses who observed the ugly scenes told the press.
Reports say immediately after they had performed the afternoon prayers on the street, security personnel stormed the area and fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse the worshippers. And many people were arrested as a result.
The police officers were reported to have negotiated with the Gas Station proprietor to see reason so as to allow worshippers to use his territory to access the mosque. But the owner is yet to give positive response, according to reports.
Observers say the manner in which the police handled the situation was far from peaceful and they suspect that the police officers favour the stubborn Fuel Station businessman more than the irate Muslim Jamaat.
American Embassy in Freetown Issues Press Statement
Sierra Leone (November 6, 2018)
Locations: Lumley and Juba areas of Freetown. Event: Civil disorder is expected to continue in Lumley and Juba this evening, Tuesday, November 6, 2018. There is a large police and military presence in these areas. U.S. government personnel are advised to avoid these areas. (Photo: US ambassador Brewer with President Julius Maada Bio).
Actions to take:
- Avoid Lumley and Juba neighborhoods
- Monitor local media for updates
- Avoid crowds
- Avoid demonstrations
- Be aware of your surroundings
· State Department – Consular Affairs, 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
· Sierra Leone Country Information
· Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates
Sierra Leone is well noted for its religious tolerance over the years. And hopefully, this unfortunate Lumley incident could not be adduced to a religious problem as some fanatics are already claiming.