Saturday, December 27, 2008

Liberian community mourns 7 killed in Philadelphia fire.......

Today is a sad day for us, members f the Liberian community in the United States. Today seven members of our community including a toddler, died when fire roared through a three-story home in southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Friday night.

Six of the victims -- three adults, a teen and two children -- were found in the townhome's basement, huddled together, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.

A 2-year-old boy who was pulled from the burning house by firefighters was later pronounced dead at Children's Hospital, Ayers said.

The medical examiner identified one adult and three children, and said the children died of smoke inhalation, while the adult died of smoke inhalation and burns. The four were identified as Henry W. Gbokoloi, 54, of Yeadon; 8-year-old Ramere Markese Wright-Dosso, 6-year-old Mariam Iyanya Dosso, and 1-year-old Zyhire Xzavier Wright-Teah, all from the same home on Willows Ave. in Southwest Philadelphia.

A family member holds a 2008 Christmas photo of the three child victims killed in a deadly house fire in Southwest Philadelphia: Zyhire Wright-Teah, 18 months, front left; Ramere Wright-Dosso, 8, back left; and Mariam Dosso, 7, front right.

The other victims still had not been identified.

The neighborhood is home to many of the city's 15,000 Liberian immigrants. Soon after daybreak, Liberian community members began showing up to learn more about the victims.
Fire marshals have not yet released the cause of the blaze. But one survival said it started after a woman added fuel to a kerosene heater and, when it became too hot, tried to move it outside through the basement's only door.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Instability in Guinea could mean trouble for Liberia.....

The 24-year reign of Guinea's president Lansana Conte , one of Africa's longest-ruling president, ended in confusion and chaos on Tuesday as a group of soldiers seized on his death to announced a coup that was immediately challenged by government officials.
International reporters in the capital Conakry, are reporting the movement of dozens of heavily armored tanks and troops heading toward the prime minister's office inside the presidential compound, and the city center. soldiers have set up check-points along the main roads into the city center, but so far there have been no reports of them abusing any citizens.

Guinean soldiers on armored vehicles patrols in the streets of Conakry

Liberians everywhere are monitoring the developments in Guinea our neighbor to the north with utmost concern. any instability in Guinea could spell serious trouble for us too. Any power struggle would be extremely dangerous, and could easily become a regional problem.
The Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her part in a statement expressed shock and great sadness at the passing of President Conte.
In her statement, she adds “On this mournful occasion, the Government and People of Liberia join me in extending to the brotherly people of Guinea heartfelt condolences for the irreparable loss sustained. Under General Conte’s administration, Guinea served as sanctuary for tens of thousands of Liberian Refugees”.

The Liberian leader hopes that during this period of national mourning and transition, the people of Guinea will continue to enjoy the blessings of peace and stability, saying “ The government and people of Liberia will always stand ready to identify with the Government and brotherly people of Guinea”.

While we all pray and hope that the situation in Guinea remains peaceful, our government must start making the necessary arrangement to bring home the thousands of our country men who sought refuge in that country during our own civil crisis. we cannot afford to let our people suffer another war when they have already been through enough already.
And the international community must do all it can to not let the situation in Guinea go out of control, Liberia will only enjoy peace when all its neighbors are at peace.