Liberia: ALJA Calls for Probe of Fire Outbreak at Islamic School


New Castle, Delaware – The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is urging the Liberian government to institute an independent probe into the September 18, 2019, fire incident which reportedly claimed the lives of two dozen students and three teachers at an Islamic boarding school in the City of Paynesville, Montserrado County.

ALJA says the recommended probe of the incident is necessary for getting to the core of the problem despite initial media reports, which attributed the causation of the fire outbreak to an electrical fault.

The Association says irrespective of the media reports; there is a national imperative for the Liberian government to get to the bottom of the fire disaster with the foremost objective of pursuing the appropriate course of action.

The Americas based Liberian Journalists said Liberians including the families and relatives of the expired students and teachers have the right to know the causation of the fire outbreak; and the concrete actions being taken by the Liberian government and the proprietors of the school aimed at the prevention of such incident in the future.

In a press release issued on September 23, 2019, the Association described the fire incident as saddening and heart-wrenching. ALJA then expressed its profound condolence to the families of the deceased, the Islamic community and the government and people of Liberia for the tragedy suffered.

The Association said it is agonizing for Liberia at the twinkle of an eye to lose such mass number of young people, who had the potential of becoming future leaders of the country. ALJA prayed that the souls of the deceased and those of the faithfully departed would rest in perpetual peace; and that the Almighty Allah would grant their bereaved families and the Islamic community 

solace and fortitude during this period of loss and mourning.

Meanwhile, the Association says it welcomes President George Weah’s prompt reach-out to the relatives and families of the deceased and the Islamic community on the day of the fire incident; and his promise to reconstruct the burnt school building. 

However, the Association notes, President Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government’s intervention in the current situation must go beyond the reconstruction of the damaged school. The Association says while the rebuilding of the destroyed school sounds plausible, the President and the CDC administration must ensure that the cause of the fire outbreak is investigated with immediacy because Liberians want to know what happened, how it happened, factors that precipitated the incident, and those responsible for the tragedy. 

ALJA asserts if any foul play or negligence is uncovered during the probe, the individual or individuals responsible must be made to face the full weight of the law.

ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objectives of fostering companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts. Additionally, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.