AS Muslims celebrated Eid-el-Fitr on Friday, hell was let loose in Igboora town, Ibarapa East Local Government Area of Oyo State when the faithful turned against one another, injuring many over claims of right to Eid Praying Ground by two Islamic groups from Igboora and Igbole communities.
Saturday Tribune learnt that the property of the traditional ruler of Igbole, the Asao of Igbole, Apostle Olusanjo Ojo was not also spared as his Sport Utility Vehicle was razed, while another car and the palace were vandalised.
Seven people, including the Chief Imams of Igbole and Igboora have been arrested, while five motorcycles said to have been used to convey those who fomented trouble to the scene were also recovered, along with some dangerous weapons.
Trouble was said to have started when the Chief Imam of Igboora, Alhaji Alobalowo went to Igbole Praying Ground, said to have been donated to the Muslim community, to lead prayers, but met stiff resistance from the Chief Imam of Igbole and his supporters who said that Alobalowo had no right to the ground because it was situated outside his community.
The argument over whose right it was to lead prayers at the ground reportedly broke into a fracas, with different weapons like cutlasses, axes, sticks and stones used by the two groups to fight one another.
Saturday Tribune learnt that it took the intervention of the Area Commander of Ibarapa Area Command, ACP Sola Oketuyi, who led policemen and operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to the community to quell the fight and restore normalcy.
The Igbole Muslim faithful allegedly destroyed the Igbole traditional ruler’s property because, according to a senior police officer, they claimed he was supporting the Chief Imam of Igboora against his own community’s Imam.
Giving a background into the problem that led to Friday’s fracas, a source who spoke under the condition of anonymity said that the fight had been on for about seven years after the death of the Chief Imam who was leading the two communities in prayers.
According to the source, “two people have been fighting over the leadership of Muslim faithful during Islamic festivities, after the death of the former Chief Imam. The case was taken to court and the Chief Imam of Igboora won.”