The family of Islamic Sheikh, Siita Hussein, arrested for suspected links with foreign jihadist movements in the Northern Region is demanding his release. 

The sheikh was arrested earlier last month after operatives of National Security raided an Arabic learning centre he founded at Nambagla near Diare in the Savelugu Municipality. 

He was rounded up together with 31 of his students and teachers during the operation and airlifted to Accra.

Brother of the sheikh, Hussein who recounted the event said: “All of a sudden, they surrounded the mosque with their guns while we were supplicating after dawn prayers. They ordered us to stay put and not make any move before introducing themselves as police officers. They said anyone who tries to make any move will be shot.

Because we haven’t committed any crime, I led them to search the whole place; the mosque, our rooms, everywhere”.

Hussein said although the security operatives found nothing during the search, they still went ahead to arrest them without any charges. 

The security operatives later released 28 of the suspects, leaving the sheikh and one of his top clerics in custody.

Hussein was among those that were freed.  He narrated what transpired while in custody to JoyNews. 

“They kept us in one room and gave us food that night. They provided a place for us to bath. They started picking us randomly into another room where they asked us some questions. They asked us which country our sheikh studied the Quran and his Islamic teachings. They asked where we were born and many other questions”.

Sources at the National Security disclosed the sheikh and the others were being detained in connection with audio recordings found on their mobile phones. 

The recordings, the source noted, were believed to be exchanges between the sheikh and suspected foreign jihadist elements and bandits after a preliminary forensic investigation. 

The national security, amongst others, had ordered the shutdown of the madrasah and repatriation of all foreign learners.

When asked about the state of the learning centre, Hussein answered; “all the foreigners have gone back. The place is now empty. For me I don’t support the existence of learning if the government allows for its operation”.

The National Security sources had said the sheikh had been under close surveillance since he was first arrested somewhere in the northern regional capital, Tamale. 

In this exclusive interview with JoyNews, his brother denied all the allegations.

“This is his first encounter with the police. I repeat, this is the first time he’s being arrested”.

He also said, although the suspects were yet to be formally charged for any wrongdoing, the National Security authorities have denied their families access to them anytime they visit. 

According to him, the fact that the security operatives are still unable to formally charge the sheikh for any wrongdoing after almost a month after his arrest justified their call for his immediate release. 

He, therefore, demanded that the national security charge and prosecute the suspects or release them immediately. 

“There is no truth in all their claims. What I do know is that the world has changed and everybody now depends on WhatsApp for information, so that is exactly what we are doing too. WhatsApp is a universal information sharing platform. So we are asking for their release. They haven’t committed any crime. The police have found absolutely nothing against it. So we are appealing for them to be released to their families”, Hussein stated.

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