MONROVIA: At least 29 people in Liberia, including 11 children and a pregnant woman, died in a stampede of worshippers at a Christian ceremony in a densely populated area of the capital, Monrovia, officials said Thursday.
The stampede erupted when a gang of thugs armed with knives attacked some of the hundreds attending the ceremony at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday night, police spokesman Moses Carter told the press.
The worshippers ran back due to fear, and collided with those on the playing pitch which resulted in the stampede,” added Kanneh, a communications manager at Liberia’s Maritime Authority who helped rescue those who were trampled.
The crusade was organized on the D. Tweah sports pitch by renowned prophetic preacher Pastor Abraham Kromah of the Word of Life Outreach Ministries, a Church he built and oversees as its pastor.
Police said Rev Kromah was also brought in for questioning about the incident.
The bodies have been taken to the morgue of Redemption Hospital, close to where the incident occurred in a beach area called New Kru Town.
The Red Cross also erected tents near the site for families to come in with photos to identify the bodies of their loved ones.
Street gangs have become an increasing problem in Monrovia and other Liberian cities in recent years, according to residents.
Liberian President George Weah visited the scene Thursday and declared three days of national mourning.
Speaking to journalists following the incident, Weah expressed disappointment that the host of the crusade did not take into consideration the number of people attending the event.
“Going forward, we will institute measures. Many juveniles have died. We need to know what age of people should be allowed to go to a crusade, the size of the place and the number of people attending such an event,” he said.