58 Arrested

Head of Operations at the Lumley Police Division, Assistance Superintendent of Police (ASP) Conteh has disclosed that over fifty-eight (58) people have been arrested for various alleged offences during the clash between the Leonco Fuel Station and the Masjid Fid Waan at Lumley in the extreme west of Freetown.

According to ASP Conteh, the 58 suspects were arrested for offences ranging from riotous conduct, possession of unlawful weapon to conspiracy to commit felony amongst others, adding that they have already been separated and detained at different locations while investigations continue.

The police, he said, did not intervene to pass judgment or take sides but to restore peace and sanity to the community through the exhibition of their constitutional mandate to maintain law and law and to protect lives and properties, adding that both parties to the conflict have been cautioned to stay off the site and that peace and calm has returned to the community.

It could be recalled that sometime last week, there was report of serious altercation between the owners of the fuel station and congregation members of the mosque over the ownership of the access road leading to the two structures.

The non-intervention of the appropriate authorities into the dispute between the two parties over the access road, according to report, prolonged the dispute until the bubble was busted on last Monday night and Tuesday morning that resulted to the burning of the fuel station some irate youths of the Muslim congregation. The fracas reportedly intensified on Tuesday to the extent that business houses at Lumley were shutdown for hours until the police had to intervene.

Meanwhile, report from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment states that the land on which the mosque is built was a marshland which was reclaimed for the construction of the mosque and its construction is therefore illegal.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) report also indicates that the land where the mosque is situated has been marked for a very long time as a “National Protected Area” and therefore advised that structures in that area be demolished to avoid future flooding.