Liberians have been hit with the dreaded news of the death of one of their countrywomen, Ms. Elita Rita Weah, who was reportedly missing following the twin bombing at the Zaventem Airport in Brussels, Belgium, last week Tuesday.
This newspaper reported that she was missing while an American man of Liberian origin was reported injured at the airport.
The remains of Ms. Weah, who is a Dutch citizen, were located and DNA test proved that she was the one. She was 40 and the mother of four children. The oldest is 22 and the youngest, 13.
She went missing following the twin bombings on Tuesday, March 24 after it emerged that she had been at the Brussels Airport en-route to the US to attend her stepfather’s funeral. Members of her family in the Netherlands contacted the Liberian Embassy in Belgium. Authorities at the Embassy alerted the Belgian authorities, and a search was launched.
Minutes before the terrorists blew themselves up at the airport, she had texted her picture to family members as she stood in the line beside the trolley, which contained her suitcases. In the picture, Ms. Weah is seen dressed in a black overcoat, smiling and standing next to her baggage trolley at the Brussels Airport.
The leadership of the Liberian Community in Belgium searched hotels and evacuation centers in Brussels and its surroundings where survivors and the wounded were being held, but their efforts proved futile.
According to the Liberian Embassy in Brussels, on Wednesday, the sister of the deceased contacted the Liberian Embassy in Brussels and provided them with the picture that Ms. Weah had sent moments before the bombs went off at the airport.
The next day, Dutch police visited Ms. Weah’s home and according to reports, when asked about the whereabouts of Ms. Weah, they only remarked to family members, “not good,” without providing any further information.
According to reports, it was around 3 a.m. the next morning that the Liberian Embassy and the Liberian Community in Belgium were informed by Belgian authorities that the body of Ms. Weah had been positively identified through photo evidence provided by her sister.
Updating Liberians about Weah’s situation, the Liberian Ambassador to Belgium, Dr. Isaac W. Nyenabo, stated: “About three days ago, we reported that due to the terrorist explosions at the Brussels airport, Ms. Elita Weah (alias Rita) was missing.
“Reports from the Dutch Foreign Ministry of Netherlands and that of the Security and Crisis Committee confirmed the death of Ms. Weah. Our condolences go to the bereaved family, the people of Grand Gedeh County and the government of Liberia.”
The Liberian envoy also provided an update on other Liberians who were at the airport but had been safe from harm’s way and had now left Belgium. He, however, reported that at least eight Liberians are still stranded in Belgian territory.
According to the Rhode Island-based Providence newspaper, an hour before the late Weah’s stepfather’s wake on Friday, Theresa Wah, her sister, sat stunned in a South Providence church and stared at a cellphone image of her sister Elita. It was the pictures she had taken of herself at the airport and sent on Tuesday. Weah had been heading to Rhode Island for the funeral of her stepfather, James Wah, who died at the age of 87.
They quoted Ms. Wah as saying about her sister: “My sister was a lovely person. She was very kind. She was nice. She was a family person.”
Meanwhile, a man of Liberian origin who is a US citizen, Mr. Sekon Watson, was also injured at the airport.
Amb. Nyenabo reported on Tuesday that “Mr. Watson, who was injured at the Brussels International Airport, is now being treated at the St. Luc Hospital near Brussels. I visited him a while ago and he is doing well, thanks to the Almighty God.”
Education Minister George K. Werner and some expatriates, who are working in Liberia, were transiting at the airport when the bombs went off. They, too, are safe.