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Your best bet would be to post a picture, or find sistership owners. It *could* be that they used a fitting like a gas tank fitting, where there's an outer "ring" (think of a Ball canning jar, with just the ring, no lid dropped into it) that you rotate by hitting the tabs on it with a hammer. That's cheap and effective, and typically used to secure a flat "lid" with fittings in the center of it. Sound familiar?
Of course whatever they used may have just been for the convenience of the fittings, the rest may be glassed over, accidentally or intentionally, thinking no one will ever need to open it again.
For slotted screws that are stuck, I'd suggest going to Sears and getting an impact driver. Heavy tool steel, about 6" long and an inch thick, that takes hardened screwdriver (or socket) bits on one end. Twisty gizmo above that end. Then you hit the backside with a mallet, and while the "hit" forces the screwdriver bit into the slot (so it doesn't chew up the screw) the twisty bit rotates just a little, forcing the screw to unscrew.
A VERY useful tool for stuck screws and bolts of all kinds, not too expensive, usually under $20 from someplace that has a large tool inventory for mechanics and machinists. (Not Home Depot or Lowes. Sears and Harbor Fright both carry them, as do auto supply stores.)