General News Sat, 12 May 2001

33 Muslims Laid To Rest

THIRTY-THREE Muslims who died in the stampede at the Accra Sports Stadium last Wednesday were buried in Accra yesterday.

Muslim leaders from Nima, Madina, Accra New Town and Maamobi led relatives of the deceased to claim the bodies for burial.

Out of the number, 30 were officially listed at the 37 Military Hospital while the remaining three, Rashid Mustapha Ankama, Baba Ali and Rashid Mamoud, were identified at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

Those who were released to their families at the 37 Military Hospital included Kamil-Deen Abdul Aziz, Nima 441; Nasiru Mohammed, Tudu; Mudasiru Mohammed, Nima; Nuhu Ibrahim, Sukura; Husein Seidu, Nima; Awudu Issa, Nima; Ismail Sulemana, Nima and Abass Fuseini, Maamobi.

Others were Seidu Alhassan, Accra New Town; Abdul Basit, Nima; Tijani Mohammed, Accra New Town; Abubakari Sadik, Madina; Abdul Rauf, Nima Research; Mohammed Fulani, Nima; Ibrahim Ali “Conca”, Nima; Abdul Samad, Madina; Seibik Belko, Ashalley Botwe; Baba Wangara, Madina; Fuseini Awal and Yakubu, both believed to be from Nima.

Following the announcement by government that bodies of Muslims identified should be released to their families by 10 a.m yesterday, families and close relations lined up with coffins to convey the bodies for burial.

The Ghana Textiles Printing Limited (GTP) had earlier donated 600 yards of white “calico” to a representative of the Office of the Chief Imam. Each family was given 10 yards to bury the dead.

There was an initial hiccup at the Military Hospital as each community brought a coffin each to convey the dead. Arrangements were quickly made to provide more coffins for the burial of the victims.

The problem arose because in line with Islamic teachings, each muslim community keeps one or two coffins at the mosque to convey the dead to the cemetery for burial after which it is returned to the mosque.

Twenty of the bodies were later sent to the Abbosey Okai Central Mosque where the President, J.A. Kufuor and his Vice, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, paid their last respects to the deceased.

Twenty-five of the victims were later buried at the Awudome cemetery where a large number of relatives and sympathisers wailed as their loved ones and friends wrapped in white were lowered into the graves.

Most of the sympathisers were the youth from Nima who said they were friends of the victims.

According to the sexton of the cemetery, Mr Emmanuel Tetteh, diggers from the Labadi, Akwasah (Mile 11) and Osu Cemetery assisted their counterparts at the Awudome cemetery to prepare graves for the departed.

At the entrance of the cemetery, some of the youth, who were in groups, openly expressed their anger at what they described as the irresponsible behaviour of the police that led to the tragic death of their friends.

Earlier yesterday, the authorities at the Military Hospital suspended the identification of the bodies to enable the Muslims to claim the bodies of their relatives for burial.

Almost all the bodies at the 37 Hospital Mortuary have so far been identified by their relations and friends and pathologists worked overnight to perform post-mortem examinations of 88 identified bodies. The report has since been submitted to the government.

Source: Graphic -By Albert K. Salia & Charles Benoni Okine
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