29 deaths confirmed from crusade stampede
By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberian health authorities have confirmed the deaths of at least 29 persons following a stampede that occurred at an overcrowded crusade when Christian worshipers were reportedly invaded by drug abusers or street gangs armed with deadly instruments intended to incite fear, wage terror and steal from people.
The three-day night-time crusade was organized at the D. Twe Memorial High School soccer pitch in New Kru Town on Bushrod Island by the Word of Life Outreach Ministry senior pastor Apostle Abraham Kromah, popularly known as “More Grace.”
The incident is reported to have occurred during an open-air church service in the area Wednesday night, 19 January 2022.
Hundreds of Christian worshipers converged at the soccer – pitch for the three-day crusade in Montserrado County District number 16.
A moment after the service climaxed during the night, the drug abusers who are known among Liberians as zogoes or disadvantaged youths, attacked worshipers attending the service with machetes, knives and other deadly weapons and made away with the loot.
Ghettos, cemeteries and other abandoned structures are some of the places drug addicts shelter in and outside of Monrovia.
And there is a fast-growing population of young people who have become zogoes or drug addicts, spreading into the communities and posing danger to peaceful citizens and residents even in broad daylight.
According to some of the surviving victims and eyewitnesses, the huge crowd of believers that exited the ground of the crusade earlier were attacked by disadvantaged youth.
Redemption Hospital Medical Director Dr. Williamatta S. Williams- Gibsons said of the 29 deaths, there were two males, sixteen females including a pregnant woman, and eleven children including, five males and six females.
Madam William-Gibsons added that fifteen persons including men, women and children were admitted with six persons in emergency walls.
After the incident, President George Manneh Weah visited the victims at the Redemption Hospital and has also declared a three – day of national mourning.
Liberia National Police (LNP) Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue has extended sympathy to the bereaved families, announcing that the police were never contacted by Apostle Kromah to provide security.
The Spokesman of the Liberia National Police Mr. H. Moses Carter said the police are investigating and questioning the crusade organizer Apostle Kromah over the situation that happened and other issues surrounding it.
Teta Walker, the grandmother of three children, expressed her gratitude to God for saving her grandchildren.
Teta who attended the crusade with her grandchildren, said she was shocked by the pulling of the crowd from the main entrance of the fence when news broke out that those leaving the fence were being attacked by zogoes.
Meanwhile, former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in a tweet expressed deep sorrow over the incident that led to the death of 29 people including 11 children.
“I am deeply saddened by the events that unfolded in New Kru Town last night. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this tragedy. I hope all Liberians will come together and support one another during this difficult time. #Liberia” the former president wrote.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-28-confirmed-dead-after-stampede-at-crusade/–Edited by Winston W. Parley