Following a deadly stampede in New Kru Town on Bushrod Island, Monrovia on the night of Wednesday, January 19, President George M. Weah has declared a 3-day state of national mourning following the tragic and heavy loss of lives in a.
The incident took place during an open-air church service in the area, resulting in the death of at least 29 people including several children and a pregnant woman.
According to Dr. Williamata S. Williams-Gibson, Medical Director, Redemption Hospital, there were 29 deaths comprising 18 adults (including 2 males and 16 females one of whom was pregnant) as well as 11 children, five of whom were male.
Among the survivors are 15 individuals who are currently admitted at the Redemption Hospital. 6 of them are in the emergency room; 2 in maternity wards. The other 7 are children.
The service was organized by Apostle Abraham Kromah of the More Grace International Ministries in the Borough of New Kru Town on Wednesday night at the D. Tweh Field.
Apostle Kromah, who is known for numerous 'signs and wonders' performed during his services, runs a thriving church in the New Georgia Estates community. His church services, which are usually full to capacity, are managed by a team of ushers who sometimes turn away congregants and guests due to lack of space.
The Apostle is yet to address the public on the unfortunate incident.
The stampede at the Crusade in New Kru Town, according to reports, occurred when criminals in the area started to attack people at the crusade entrance, resulting in tension and people fled for their lives.
However, reports gathered indicate that the security for the crusade was inadequate, making it difficult for the organizers to control the movement of the crowd, as a means of avoiding an unfortunate accident.
Thus, the limited security presence created room for the criminals to attack peaceful civilians whose only reason for being there was to receive hope and blessing. New Kru Town is known to be a hideout for notorious criminals who terrorize people at night.
The specific community in which the crusade was held is a hotbed for thugs and criminal activity.
Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police (LNP) have invited Apostle Kromah for questioning following the stampede at his crusade in New Kru Town, District 16, Montserrado County.
Police Spokesperson Moses Cater disclosed in an interview that some arrests have been made by the Police.
Up to now, the Apostle Kromah media team is yet to issue a release to the hurrible incident of January 19, 2022, at the D. Tweh Field.
President Weah, who has expressed disheartenment at such a national calamity, has ordered that the national ensign be flown at half-mast at all public buildings throughout the Republic while the nation mourns.
Full details of the tragedy are still emerging.
The President has mandated the police to conduct a full-scale investigation to ascertain whether or not there is criminal culpability. He urged the authorities of the LNP to ensure the investigation is speedy and thorough, saying that anyone found liable will be dealt with by the law.
The Liberian leader has also called on health authorities, including the Liberian National Red Cross and the Disaster Management Agency, to assist with treatment and recovery efforts.
President Weah has conveyed his deepest sympathies to the families of the bereaved, while thanking all those who provided help to the victims in the immediate aftermath of the stampede.
Meanwhile, the dedication ceremony of the new Duala Market which was to be performed by the President today has been postponed indefinitely in deference to the deceased.
In a related development, the opposition Liberty Party is calling on the government and all relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation into the cause of the stampede killing that led to the loss of so many lives "to give the families somehow implement measures to help mitigate any future occurrence of such. "
"The Liberty Party sees this as a national calamity that has negatively impacted the joy associated with religious crusades, that is known in Liberia as a time of interceding and invoking God’s blessings not only for our families but for the nation as a whole. Unfortunately, such calamity involving the loss of precious lives has befallen the nation," the party said in a statement.
Also, the political leader of the Alternative National Congress Alexander Cummings has said there is a need for a thorough investigation of the cause of this unfortunate incident, to give closure to the family and the nation.
"I and my family are deeply saddened by the news of the tragedy that happened in New Kru Town last night. As we gather the facts about the total number of victims and the circumstances that led to the deaths of over two dozen men, women, and children, we are praying for all the families of the victims. May God give you all solace and strength during this period," Cummings added.