Written by Cocorioko Newspaper Limited 
Thursday, 20 December 2007
The Devil has dampened it for our people .

A Profile of Ernest Bai Koroma – Hottest Heads of State

Just as the whole nation of Sierra Leone is bracing  herself to celebrate a wonderful day when President Ernest Bai Koroma will switch on the lights in Freetown today, a series of blasts so far associated with a  gas leak at Free Street in Freetown has inflicted horrific suffering on Christmas shoppers and Lebanese merchants, killing about 17 ( According to BBC estimates ) and leaving scores injured.Up till now, it is not clear what  really caused the blasts which rocked the capital . The earth-shattering blasts , which sent human parts flying in the air, caused tremenduos panic in a city in festive mood, after yesterday’s Eid-Ul-Ahda muslim celebrations , today’s turning on of the lights and the Christmas season. Sierra Leone’s Vice-President , Hon. Samuel Sam-Sumana , told the press that government will launch a thorough investigation into the blasts. Police Chief Brima Acha Kamara also made the same promise.

Today’s explosions sent hundreds of people running helter-skelter throughout Freetown Central . Marketwomen and traders ran in all directions in panic  and hawkers abandoned their wares and fled for their lives . The first thought  was that it was sabotage by enemies of the government who wanted to take the shine off today’s dramatic return of electricity to the capital,  after years of darkness under previous governments. However , when it was learnt that the blasts took place in a Lebanese-owned building , the thought of a likely gas leak emerged  , though it is yet early to be conclusive on the causes of the blasts  .

Disfigured human bodies were strewn everywhere .The Police materialized at the scenes and bodies were wrapped up and taken to the undermanned Connaught Hospital   where  the injured had also been rushed  .Doctors are now working relentlessly to save the lives of the injured. The scene at the hospital is described as chaotic as concerned people have jammed the facility to see if their families were involved.

The explosions took place in a four-storey building where people were shopping in the store on the ground floor and nearby stalls . Most of the casualties were those busy shopping .

People could be seen holding their heads in grief and crying openly on the streets. Wailing families were also seen streaming to Connaught Hospital.

COCORIOKO Reporters in Freetown are on the story and will soon send you all the details .

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2007 )

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