ALJA Wants Fire Outbreak at Islamic School Investigated

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The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has called on the government to institute an independent probe into the September 18, 2019 fire incident, which reportedly claimed 28 lives, including 26 students and two teachers, at an Islamic boarding school in the City of Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

ALJA says the recommended independent probe is necessary to get to the core of the problem, despite initial media reports, which attributed the cause of the fire to an “electrical fault.”

The Association says irrespective of the media reports, there is a national imperative for the Liberian government to get to the bottom of the fire disaster, with the foremost objective being to pursue the appropriate course of action.

ALJA said Liberians, including the families of the deceased, have the right to know the cause of the fire outbreak, the concrete actions being taken by the government, and the proprietors of the school to prevent such incident in the future.

In a press release issued on September 23, 2019 the Association described the incident as “saddening and heart-wrenching.”

ALJA then expressed its profound condolences to the families of the deceased, the Islamic community and the government and people of Liberia for the tragedy suffered.

The Association said it is agonizing for Liberia – at the twinkle of an eye – to lose such massive number of young people, who had the potential of becoming the country’s future leaders.

ALJA prayed that the souls of the deceased and those of the faithfully departed would rest in perpetual peace, and that the Almighty Allah would grant their bereaved families and the Islamic community solace and fortitude during this period of loss and mourning.

Meanwhile, the Association says it welcomes President George Weah’s prompt reach-out to the relatives and families of the deceased and the Islamic community on the day of the fire incident as well as his promise to reconstruct the burnt school building.

However, the Association notes, President Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government’s intervention in the current situation must go beyond the reconstruction of the damaged school.

The Association says while the rebuilding of the destroyed school sounds possible, the president and the CDC administration must ensure that the cause of the fire outbreak is investigated with immediacy, “because Liberians want to know what happened, how it happened, factors that precipitated the incident, and those responsible for the tragedy.”

ALJA says if any foul play or negligence is uncovered during the probe, the individual or individuals responsible must be made to face the full weight of the law.

ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objective of fostering companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts. Additionally, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.

1 COMMENT

  1. Those poor children and their teachers met their demise through the wicked hands of religious bigotry that has engulfed Liberia. That could not happen to a Christian Seminary in Liberia. People would had amok.

    There were three attempts in the past to burn that learning center, but all fail or were thwarted. Complains were made to authorities, but nothing was done. Some people are saying, it is due to land issues. Well, the owner or presume owners of the site where the Islamic Learning center was built, would had taken the case to court, if it was due to land grab.

    Evidence had shown in Liberia, time and time again that certain quarters in Liberia do not hold sympathy for anything Islamic. Not the vast majority, though; however, there are groups laying low and waiting for upper hands to inflict maximum harm to members of this religious group. In 1990, one would asked, what did the Muslim community did in the past, they were being sought and butchered by the NPFL from Butyuwoe all the way to Monrovia? Innocent Liberians who were Muslims like the Kissi, Vai and Gbandi, and some Golas and Mendi; were sought out.

    When Alahaji Kromah and others ran away to Freetown and formed the MRLM ( Movement of The Redemption of Liberian Muslim) to come back for retribution, good hearted Liberians like the late Levi Moulton, Amos Sawyer and the late Sir Dawuda Jawara, former president of Gambia caution Kromah of the consequence. The group name was altered to ULIMO ( United Liberation Movement). The group mandate was changed from retributive goal to political movement—sole aim to get Taylor off the back of the Liberian people. Do we know how bloody and nasty it would had been if ULIMO had entered Liberia with the sole aim of killing Christian, as the NPFL did?

    As I m writing, there are elements in Liberia who say that since modern Liberia was built on “Christian principle”, therefore everybody in Liberia should stay home on Sunday and ‘go to church’. These are people who forgotten to know that every Liberian pay tax. When the Government is taking your tax money, you are not ask whether you Christian , Muslim or a person with no faith. Yet, still simple minded figures are too busy strengthen their religious fanaticism idea, and marginalizing other Liberians. It is just not fair.

    Liberians, we have to be very careful. Christian fundamentalists has taken hold of the fabrics of some of our consciences, some of us cannot see any good in another person who is not a Christian!

    The constitution speaks of no religious dominant, however; are we practicing it? The living sprints of those innocent little kids and their teachers, will forever hunt those who were responsible for taken their lives so early.

    Michigan State

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