Dozens of dead in Stampede church in Liberia
According to witnesses, a stampede at a church service killed at least 29 people, including 11 children, after it was reported that armed gang members robbed worshipers. out of panic, according to witnesses.
The fatal beating took place Wednesday night as people left a revival service known as a crusade organized by a prominent Pentecostal church at a school ballpark in New Kru Town. , a poor neighborhood of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
Witnesses said when word spread that people were being robbed on their way out, members of the church, World of Life Outreach Mission International, tried to get out through a narrow gate in the enclosure. around the football field.
Emmanuel Gray, a resident of New Kru Town, told Liberian radio station OK FM: “People ran back to the fence in fear for their lives. “A lot of them started falling and then people started walking over them.”
He and other young men pulled the bodies of 17 people out of their wounds and took them to the hospital, he said.
Another worshiper told the same radio station that panic spread when local thugs known as “zoos” arrived and started robbing people with knives.
“People heard that zoos took away from people their things after the crusades,” said worshiper James Toe.
A police spokesman said that investigations are underway and one person has been arrested, carrying a knife. President George Weah of Liberia, who said in a statement he was “grieved” by the death, announced three days of mourning.
The pastor leading the ceremony, Abraham Kromah, said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the death.
According to Moses Carter, a spokesman for the Liberian National Police, he is being questioned as part of a police investigation.
“We will make sure that everyone responsible for what happened bears the full weight of the law,” Mr Carter said in a statement.
Several organizations point to the role of gang members in the stampede as a serious threat to Liberia.
The Liberian Youth Federation, a powerful group in a country where more than 60 percent of the population is under the age of 25, said it was a sign of “the national security emergency facing the nation with a young population.” face”.
And a United Nations Development Program representative in Liberia says the program highlights “the plight of youth unemployment in Liberia and the threat of drug abuse in this country.”
Liberia is still dealing with the aftermath of two civil wars that have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and forced many children to become child soldiers. The country also has high unemployment and, despite being rich in natural resources, is one of the poorest in the world.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/world/africa/stampede-liberia.html Dozens of dead in Stampede church in Liberia