Liberia: Ellen Expresses Regrets

22 September 2019

Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has expressed her profound regrets and sympathy to the bereaved family and the Muslim Community here over the death of some 28 Liberians, mostly children in a fire incident last Wednesday.

The cause of the fire is yet unknown, but the former President who is currently holding meetings on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York said the loss of the children were untimely and that as the nation mourns, she prayed that their souls rest in peace.

Former President Sirleaf's expression of sympathy and regrets comes amidst several condolences. On Thursday, the European Union Delegation and the Heads of Mission of France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden in Monrovia expressed their condolences saying they had been deeply saddened by the tragic fire incident in the Bassa Town Quranic Recitation Center in Paynesville early Wednesday morning, 18 September.

"We are deeply saddened to have learnt of the tragic fire which occurred in the Bassa Town Quranic Recitation Center in the early hours of Wednesday in the Bassa Community in Paynesville in which at least 28 people, including many children, died," the Foreign Missions said in a statement Thursday, 19 September.

"At this difficult time, we wish to express our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, to the Islamic Community of Paynesville, and to the people of Liberia. We also wish a swift recovery to those who have been injured."

Raging fire dreadfully consumed at least 28 persons most of them students at an Islamic dormitory in Bassa Town Community in Paynesville where kids go to recite the Quran.Redlight, Paynesville was a scene of sorrow and tears on account of the tragedy as community dwellers struggled unsuccessfully to rescue at least 28 dying kids who could not stop screaming for help through hot iron bar windows until they were finally consumed painfully by fire.

Eyewitnesses who rushed to the scene explained that kids inside the blazing Quran Memory Institute facility screamed through the windows of the dormitory, seeking help at about 12 a.m. on Wednesday.Efforts to get the victims out were undermined because they would tragically come in contact with hot iron bars that are installed at the widows and then run back inside the building in fire.

At least two kids were rescued, but there are reports that the lady who rescued them reportedly died when she returned inside the building to get additional kids out.Hundreds of residents from Bassa Town Community and its environs, including women, men, children, bike riders, taxi drivers and marketers gathered in mass at the incident scene on Wednesday.They could not hold back their tears as everyone had their own narrative of the incident.

Following the incident, President George Manneh Weah visited the scene early Wednesday morning, encouraging families of the victims "to have strength" as he describes the death of the "28 kids" as a disaster."It's painful, it's hurtful! So there's not much we can say but to extend our sympathy to the bereaved families," he told reporters in an interview."We will do all our best to make sure that they establish what happened and then whatever assistance the government can render the family, we will be there," he said.

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