At least 29 people, including 11 children, have died in a stampede after an armed gang attacked a Christian crusade in the Liberian capital.
Hundreds of people had gathered for an all-night crusade on January 19 at an open-air Pentecostal church on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, in New Kru Town, when the tragedy occurred, Deputy Information Minister Jalawa Tonpo told state radio on Thursday.
According to police, the stampede occurred after a street gang broke into the service while collecting donations.
“I saw a group of men appear with machetes and other weapons,” said Exodus Morias, a local resident who attended the service. “People rushed to run from them, many fell, while others continued to run over them.”
The two-day worship prayer service was hosted by renowned Liberian apostle Avraham Kromah, who is also the pastor of World of Life Outreach International.
National police spokesman Moses Carter said 11 children and a pregnant woman were among the dead. Many of the victims are in critical condition.
President George Weah declared three days of mourning throughout the country.
Gang attacks are not uncommon on Liberian streets. They often commit robberies armed with small arms.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened in Liberia. A stampede at a similar service in November 2021 resulted in the death of two infants and several others were hospitalized.