12 December 2011, Sweetcrude, SAPELE – FOLLOWING the dawn explosion, last Saturday, at the Central Mosque, Sapele, in Delta State, in which one person was injured and parts of the mosque shattered, Moslem worshippers have deserted the mosque for fear of being caught in another blast.
When these reporters visited the mosque at about 3.00 pm, yesterday, it was deserted.
The Moslems refused to go inside the mosque for prayers, saying it was not safe yet to do so. Those who spoke to our reporters called on the security agents to deploy policemen and soldiers to the area to instill confidence in the people.
Some of them gathered outside the mosque discussing Saturday’s incident and even non-Moslems living in the area abandoned their homes for fear that more explosives may be detonated.
We entered the mosque, which was wide open, but there was no worshipper in sight.
It took about one hour to trace the Chief Imam, Alhaji Mohammed Yusuf to his house, about two kilometers from the mosque, yesterday, where he disclosed that he could not go to the mosque because of the shock he went through when the explosion occurred, weekend.
He said he was going to the top floor when the incident took place and was not in a hurry to return there.
Meanwhile, the Mouka Foam store in Sapele, which is about 200 yards away from the mosque, was burnt Saturday night. Properties worth over N5m were destroyed in the midnight fire.
No one has claimed responsibility for the inferno and the cause of the fire is not yet known.
A resident, however disclosed that the fire incident might not be unconnected with vandals, who have been parading the area in recent times.
As at press time, the owner of the shop said to be from the South-East region could not be reached for comments. A middle aged man said he showed up briefly at the scene, weekend, and had not been seen since then.