A 3-day of National Mourning, has been declared in Liberia by President George Weah, after 29 people died in a stampede in New Kru Town.
The incident took place during an open-air church service in the area, organized by popular Liberian clergy man, Apostle Abraham Kromah.
The President has ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at all public buildings throughout the Republic, while the nation mourns.
Speaking when he paid a visit at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, upon hearing the sad news, the President said he is disheartened by such a national disaster.
He however expressed his deepest sympathy to the families of the bereaved; while thanking all those who provided help to the victims in the immediate aftermath.
The President has mandated the police to conduct a full-scale investigation to ascertain whether or not there is criminal responsibility.
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.
Pastor invited for questioning by police.
Following the tragic deaths of peaceful worshippers at Apostle Kromah’s crusade, the Liberia National Police has invited the clergyman for questioning.
It’s rumoured that the pastor might lightly be held for negligence- hosting such a huge event without notifying the police for security protection.
However, it’s believed that the government won’t push for prosecution, but caution him to take precaution next time.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Colonel Patrick Sudue, has warned the public against what he calls, the continual interference into operations of the police by the public, when raiding disadvantaged youths or Zogos across Monrovia.
Colonel Sudue cited several instances, ranging from the Duala standoff, the Red light saga and the recent one between members of the LNP and protestors of Bea Mountain Mining Company, when the police came under serious criticism from the public for using excessive force against Zogos.
He maintained that while the public keeps coming in defense of the disadvantaged youths, they are on the rampage attacking peaceful citizens, something according to him, caused the death of twenty nine persons at a crusade hosted by More Grace International Ministries in New Kru Town.
IG Sudue has at the same time , appealed to the general public to give them chance so as to enable them do their work void of fear, favor or criticism.
The Inspector General has meanwhile expressed sadness over the passing of those Liberians, but regretted the organizer’s actions for not informing state security for protection.
Also speaking, Monrovia Mayor , Jefferson Koijee promised to convene a meeting with the victims’ families, to ensure that they work with the government in addressing their issues.
House sympathizes with bereaved families.
As the country mourns, House Speaker , Dr. Bhofal Chambers led a team of lawmakers at the Redemption Hospital in the Borough of New Kru Town , following the New Kru Town catastrophe.
Speaker Chambers described the situation as troubling and a great loss, not only to the people of New Kru Town, but Liberia.
Dr. Chambers on behalf of the Legislature, further expressed condolences to the people of District #16 and the bereaved families.
But the Speaker was lashed at by another clergyman, for describing the Christians crusade, organized by influential Pastor Abraham Kromah as ‘reckless and unacceptable’.
The Political Leader of the Democratic People’s Party, Rev. David Kiamu, has condemned House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, for describing the Crusade that led to the death of 29 – people as ‘reckless and unacceptable’.
Rev. Kiamu told Spoon Tv, that Speaker Chambers’ description of the church crusade at the time , the Nation is mourning shows the total lack of leadership on the part of the Maryland County Lawmaker.
He is however demanding an apology from speaker Chambers for branding the religious gathering as ‘reckless and unacceptable’.
According to him, the government must be blamed for the death of those individuals, for its alleged failure to provide security for citizens and not the Church.
Youth Activist blames tragic incident on government.
As mis- reactions continue to split public views way down the line, over a crusade that ended in tragedy, Sylvester Wonplue says, national government reported delays to formulate rehabilitation programs for disadvantaged youths known as ‘zogos’ is one of the factors responsible for high criminal rate in the country.
Speaking at a news conference in Monrovia, the Borough Youth Activist calls on the Coalition for Democratic Change government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports to now focus on the growing wave of zogos in the country.
Wonplue also believes that the country is currently experiencing the high increase in the number of disadvantaged youths, who are terrorizing peaceful citizens and forcefully taking people’s belongings, including those who had gone to attend the crusade in the Borough.
Meanwhile, a stalwart of the Coalition for Democratic Change , Montserrado County Electoral District #16 Youth League Chapter, Ansu Sesay has blamed Apostle Kromah and his organizing team for their alleged failure to have instituted some tight security measures.
“The man of God along with his organizers didn’t do well by not putting into place some strong security measures until disadvantaged youths harmed the very citizens who had gone to attend his crusade during the night hours of Wednesday.” Sesay asserted.
The CDC District #16 Youth League Executive further that if strong security measures were put in place by the organizers of the crusade, the high level of casualty experienced would have been prevented.
According to him, the entrances of the D. Twe Sports Pitch are very narrow to contain the huge crowd, disclosing that the other side of the playing pitch specifically under the tree has a ghetto where several ‘zogos’ reportedly set an ambush to harm peaceful citizens.
“He should be asking for security to cover his events and we should not also politicize this situation, but rather help Representative Dixon Seboe to arrange befitting burials for the victims and sympathize with their families.” He concluded.
As the country mourns, many believed that the attacks on the crusade which resulted to multiple deaths must serve as an eye opener to national government.
The debate now is, moving forward, whether organizers of major religious events must get approval first from the police or not.