MONROVIA – At least 29 worshippers, including a pregnant woman, have died in a stampede which occurred at the D. Twe Football field in the Borough of New Kru Town, outside Monrovia after a criminal gang comprising of scores of disadvantaged youths reportedly staged a hijacking and robbing attack from the main entrance of the field following the climax of the first day of an open-air crusade.
Dozens of others are hospitalized and reported missing.
Founded in 1920s, the Borough is a township located on the Bushrod Island in district # 16, Montserrado County.
The deceased include: 11 minors (six girls, five boys), and 18 adults (16 women, two men).
The victims were among thousands of other worshippers who trooped the stadium for the healing and salvation crusade which was being hosted by renowned Liberian Apostle Abraham Kromah.
Apostle Kromah, who has been nicknamed “More Grace”, is the Founder/General World of Life Outreach Mission International (WOLOMI) located in Monrovia. He is regarded for his ability to perform miracles during crusades, revivals and divine worship services.
The stampede occurred around 9PM when news broke out that the disadvantaged youths who were armed with knives, machetes and other deadly weapons were hijacking and armed robbing the first group of worshippers that made their way out of the field shortly after the end of the crusade.
Disadvantaged youths are commonly known as “zogos” in Liberia.
“I was lying down on the ground and the people were walking on me last night. I began to wake up and say your help me, your help me. I was pushing myself outside but someone was hauling my foot for me to stay there. We were under attack and it was not for free. The hole was dug right here (pointing at the entrance of the field). Another fat lady was lying right beside me and she was saying ‘my people I dying slow, slow your help me and she left right over there and died last night”, Theresa Wleh, a survivor of the stampede stated.
She narrated that while hundreds of worshippers were fighting for their lives, the “zogos” took advantage of the situation by snatching valuable items from some of those who attended the crusade.
She continued: “People were taking chairs leaving before the service could even end. The whole gate was packed. Everybody wants to get out at once. When people were fighting to get out that was when the zogos them started fighting and jerking things from people outside”.
Madam Wleh attributed the influx of worshippers at the crusade of Apostle Kromah to the increasing wave of alleged witch craft activities in the Borough.
“I wanted to come with my children at the crusade but, the voice spoke to me and say ‘leave the children home and go alone’. And so, I didn’t bring them”.
She observed that though many Liberians are in the constant habit of doubting the calling of Apostle Kromah, she believes that the renowned Liberian Clergyman was sent by God to redeem Liberia and its citizens from captivity.
Fredrick Nagbe stated: “I could have been a dead man last night; it is by the mercy of God I am standing here this morning. I don’t know how many people walked on my head and back last night. You can see the scrapping marks on my hands and face. There was screaming all over the place; people were yelling with the names of their children, family members and friends right after the crusade. There was nowhere to turn or run; but only this small entrance for thousands of people”.
Show of photos
When news of the incident broke out like a widecat fire on the Bushrod Island, parents, family members and loved ones stormed the Redemption Hospital, where the remains of the deceased were deposited, and others were undergoing treatment.
They held photographs of their family members and loved ones, inquiring from healthcare workers and others about the whereabouts of their missing relatives or spouses.
“I came to look for my 18 years old daughter. They said she came at the crusade and since yesterday I have not seen her. Your please open the gate let me go check inside for her; I want to see for myself”, an elderly woman who only described herself as Girl stated in tears.
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