Ethiopia: Islamic Affairs Supreme Council Denounces Security Forces' Attack On Mosque, Worshipers

The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council Addis Abeba office denounced security forces' attack on Abdulqadir mosque and worshipers inside the mosque located in Akaki Kifle Ketema, Wereda 08, in the southern outskirt of Addis Abeba.

At least nine people, including women and children, who were inside the mosque were injured and hospitalized when security forces went into Abdulqadir mosque yesterday, according to journalist Akmel Negash.

The security forces were there to demolish what they said were "illegal building". However, in a statement released yesterday late in the afternoon the Addis Abeb City Administration bureau distanced itself saying the action was taken "without the administration's knowledge."

Sheikh Abdulaziz Wegu, President of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council Addis Abeba office told state media Ethiopian Press Agency that Abdulqadir mosque has been providing service for more than 20 years. But three years ago it has applied for extra land to expand its services, a request that hasn't not been given approval by pertinent authorities as of yet. Part of the reason is due to Akaki Kifle Ketema, Wereda 08 office's request to get the plot of land the Mosque has already requested for its expansion work to cater for the increasing number of worshipers in the area. The matter was being handled by the City administration. However, security forces went into the which they accused of illegally building an extension on the plot of land.

Sheikh Abdulaziz denied the accusation and said the mosque did not build anything illegal because the matter was in the hands of the city administration.

The statement from the city administration further said that the city administration did not give any orders to Akaki Kifle Ketema, Werda 08 administration pertaining the mosque and vowed to take "corrective measures."

Muslims accuse the Addis Abeba city administration of demolishing three more mosques in the past one year only. In January this year a similar crackdown on Omer Mosqu, located in Bole Arabsa, in the outskirt of south east Addis Abeba, resulted in several people being injured by security forces who demolished the mosque which they said was "built illegally." TAkele Uma Benti, deputy mayor of Addis Abeba, went to the site a few weeks later and said security forces' actions were "inappropriate" and promised to help rebuild the mosque. AS

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