Police move to forestall face-off between Muslim groups

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By Taye Obateru
Jos – The Plateau State Police Command has initiated a peace meeting between two Muslim groups in the state following tension over today’s Eid-Maulud celebration to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammed which one of the groups does not believe in.

This, according to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe followed security reports of plans by one of the groups to disrupt the procession usually held to commemorate the occasion which might have resulted in a clash of the two groups.

He said at a meeting with representatives of the Derika and Izala groups yesterday that the belief in whether or not the birthday of the Prophet should be celebrated should not be allowed to threaten the peace describing the Maulud as a global event which should be celebrated peacefully.

Vanguard gathered that youths from both groups were poised for a showdown with one threatening to disrupt the procession and the other vowing to resist any such move, portending violence.

Speaking at the meeting, spokesman of the Izala group, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad accused the Derika group of deliberate provocative acts such as placing posters and decoration around the group’s (Izala) mosque and the house of their spiritual leader when aware that it did not like it.

He said although the group does not believe in the celebrations it had never had any problem with other Muslims that have been doing so over many years but for the deliberate acts of probation made by the Derika group.

Responding to the allegation, the Deika group, admitted that there might be trouble makers trying trying to create disaffection between the two groups adding that the Izala had never disrupted the celebration which he said had been on for 43 years.

He said his group had reached out to the Izala to forestall any trouble but appealed that adequate security be deployed to check would be trouble makers.

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