Africell concert tragedy,Bereaved families speak
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The spectacular musical jamboree organised by Africell, one of the country’s GSM operators, as part of activities marking celebrations of the New Year (2009), ended in tragedy.
The event organised at Africell Head Offices along Kairaba Avenue, resulted in the death of 4 individuals, namely; Fatoumata Camara, a Sierra Leonean; Mai Trawally, a resident of Latrikunda Yiri Nganya; Fatou Chuba of Latrikunda German and Momodou Jallow of Bakau. 12 others were also said to be seriously injured.
Speaking to the Daily Observer, Ebou Ndow, a husband to one of the deceased Fatou Chuba, said he conveyed his wife to the programme and promised her that he would come back to the venue before the fireworks would start around 12:00am.
According to him, when he came back to the programme around 12:00 am, he search for his wife every where but could not see her. He said he tried to call her mobile but to no avail.
"The tension was high at the venue and I went back home, thinking that my wife will come back soon. But after a while, I received a call informing me that my wife was admitted at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul," Mr Ndow explained. He said he then rushed to the RVTH and found that his wife had passed away. He said he subsequently informed his family about it. He added that the deceased was laid to rest on Thursday evening.
Kumba Singhateh, an elder sister to Mai Trawally, said simply her sister had fallen down and people stepped on her. According to Kumba Singhateh, her sister’s neck and left hand were broken and she also suffered severe pain on her chest.
For his part, Papa Leigh, Marketing and sales Manager at Africell, said it was not Africell’s intention to organise a programme where such incidents will occur. He said it is God’s decision and that his company has also joined the rest of the people in sympathising with the bereaved families.
Mr Leigh disclosed that Africell staff, on Thursday evening, visited the bereaved families to extend their condolence. When contacted, the police spokesperson, ASP Sulayman Secka, said the Inspector General of Police hadj2 instituted a panel of six police officers, headed by the Crime Management Coordinator, Commissioner Yankuba Sonko, to look into the circumstances surrounding the stampede.
Author: by Assan Sallah