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Word Miracle Church Denies Claims   
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Leaders of the Word Miracle Church International (WMCI) have denied claims that the church engaged land guards in its bid to reclaim a parcel of land from squatters at Avenor on Monday, leading to the death of two persons and injury to three others.

At a press conference in Accra yesterday to present their side of the story, the leaders of the church said the people described as land guards in the media were labourers who were engaged by the church to work on its building project. They also rejected reports that the workers were armed.

Articulating the position of the church, Mr. Kwaw Adjei-Lartey, legal officer for the church, explained that the ownership of the land became the subject of a legal dispute in 2004 but court ruled in favour of the church. Consequently, the church so declared as the rightful owner, initiated action to claim the parcel of land. However, he said when the church went to claim the land, the chiefs of the Avenor area disagreed over ownership of the land with the excuse that the land was earmarked for a school project. Mr. Adjei-Lartey explained that the action of the chiefs caused the church to institute contempt proceedings against them, bringing the implementation of the building project to a halt.

He said the high Court on September 2, 2009 gave an order for leave to complete execution of the project, which had been halted as a result of the contempt proceedings. Mr. Adjei-Lartey explained that the church had talks the chiefs of the area and came to a consensus to build the school which they had envisaged. He denied the claim that the church had encroached on the land, adding that it was the bona fide owner of the parcel of land and had all the necessary documents to that effect.

He also dismissed assertions by some persons who claimed to have acted to project the interest of the Ahmadiyya Mission, which they alelged, had an interest in the land. Mr. Adjei-Lartey said leaders of the church had spoken to officials of the Ahmadiyya Mission who had denied having anything to do with the land dispute. He said the leaders of the church were convinced that some persons were hiding behind the Ahmadiyya Mission to propagate notoriety and called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage. A land dispute between the WMCI and some squatters at Avenor last Monday exploded into an exchange of gunfire that claimed two lives and left three others seriously injured.

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