Chief Imam, Peace Council broker peace between traditional authorities and Muslim youth in Tafo

Three days after the mayhem at Tafo, a suburb of Kumasi, which claimed one life and led to the destruction of properties, including banks, the National Peace Council (NPC) and the Office of the National Chief Imam have moved in to bring the factions together.

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharabutu, and the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPC,  Professor Seth Opuni Asiama, visited Tafo on Friday to get the factions to smoke the peace pipe in order to resolve the land dispute between the traditional authorities of Tafo and the Muslim youth that degenerated into violence on Wednesday.

As part of the reconciliatory gesture, the Chief Imam apologised to the Tafohene, Nana Agyin Frimpong, on behalf of the Muslim youth.

The Chief Imam, members of the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and some opinion leaders from the Zongo communities in the region were at the chief’s palace to render the apology and also find a lasting solution to the problem.

Other members of the delegation were the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka; the Municipal Chief Executive for Asokore Mampong, Mr Nuhu Hamidan, and Prof. Asiama. 

The Chief Imam had earlier held meetings with the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Sheikh Abdul Mumin, and the Kumasi Zongo Chief, Alhaji Seidu Chibsa.

Commenting on the efforts so far made to resolve the dispute, Prof. Asiama said with the cooperation of all the parties involved in the dispute, there were indications that peace would certainly prevail in due course.

He  said he was delighted that the parties exhibited their commitment to peace at the meetings to resolve the matter amicably.

At a meeting with the traditional authorities at Tafo yesterday, Sheikh Sharabutu asked that the Zongo community to be forgiven.

Addressing the youth later at the Tafo Central Mosque, the Chief Imam asked them to let cool heads prevail and not to resort to violence at the least provocation.

He asked them to always consult their leaders and seek guidance from them whenever there was a problem, adding that if they had done that, ‘we will not be faced with this issue today’.

That point was stressed by Alhaji Muntaka, who further asked the youth not to allow themselves to be used as conduits to sow seeds of unrest in the metropolis.

According to him, if they failed to let peace prevail and the REGSEC came to seek parliamentary approval to continue with the curfew, ‘I can promise you that we will give them a blank cheque to implement austere measures that will bring peace to this area’.

‘If you want to be treated as other places where there is curfew, then continue with the violent acts,’ he warned.

Release of suspects
As part of the steps to find a lasting solution to the issue, the Chief Imam brokered a deal with the REGSEC for the release of the over 40 youth who were arrested last Thursday.

The outgoing Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Peter Anarfi-Mensah, agreed to the demand but said the curfew would remain in force until there was improvement in the security situation on the ground.

He said even though the council had agreed to release the suspects, ‘we will still be monitoring them and if anything happens again, they will be first suspects’.

Besides that, he said, those declared wanted would not be arrested at all.

He, however, warned those spreading false news about the event to desist from that.

According to him, the video and pictures circulating on social media about a mosque that was torched were false, inaccurate and not coming from Tafo or anywhere near Kumasi.

Curfew relaxed
Meanwhile, the REGSEC has relaxed the curfew it imposed on Old Tafo following the outbreak of violence last Wednesday.

The Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Mr Kojo Bonsu, said the KMA had taken over the issue of the land demarcation.

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