29 trampled to death in church stampede

One of the people bereaved by the deadly stampede in New Kru Monrovia

One of the people bereaved by the deadly stampede in New Kru Town Monrovia

A stampede at a church gathering in Liberia’s capital Monrovia killed 29 people overnight, the deputy information minister told state radio on Thursday.

The incident occurred during an all-night Christian worship event at New Kru Town, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital, Jalawah Tonpo said.

“The doctors said 29 persons died and some are on the critical list,” Tonpo said, calling into state radio from a nearby hospital. “This is a sad day for the country.”

Pator Kromah of Liberia's Church of Apostle
Pator Kromah of Liberia’s Church of Apostle

Exodus Morias, a resident who attended the event, said the stampede began after a group of armed men rushed the crowd in an attempt to stage a robbery.

“We saw a group of men with cutlasses and other weapons coming toward the crowd,” Morias said. “While running, some people dropped and others fell on the ground and walked over them.”

Bands of Liberian street gangs known as Zogos commonly commit robberies with machetes and other small weapons.

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Police spokesman Moses Carter declined to comment on what caused the incident. He said an investigation is under way.

President George Weah visited the site on Thursday afternoon and declared a three-day period of national mourning

He said the Liberian Red Cross and Disaster Management Agency had been called in to assist victims, his office said.

Abraham Kromah, leader of the Church of Apostle that organised the crusade regretted the deaths.

Kromah, in a message, said many of the victims were on their way home from the crusade.

“More Grace International Ministries says that they are helping the Liberia National Police to conduct an investigation and they are making efforts to reach out to the bereaved families”.

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