“Start Praying Mom”…Liberian Boy Texted Mother from Brussels International Airport

Brussels came under attack in late March, 33 people lost their lives to the terrorists. Liberian  Arsenio Blodyu Allen appeared to have found himself in the wrong place – at the wrong time. Via text, he asked his mother in the West African nation to start praying.

By James Kokulo Fasuekoi | The AfricaPaper

Minneapolis, Minn– Just as they were being hurdled into the back of the Brussels Airport terminals through winding corridors and stairs way, the first thing that came to the mind of a Liberian boy, was to text his mother, (a devout Christian living in Liberia), and urged her to pray!

Start Praying

Arsenio Blodyu Allen posed with aunt moments after he was picked up from Newark, New Jersey, Airport. Photo: The AfricaPaper File

Arsenio Blodyu Allen. Photo: The AfricaPaper File

“Start praying Mom, someone came in the Airport with a bomb so we had to evacuate to the back of the airport,” wrote Arsenio Blodyu Allen, 22.

Thereafter, Allen continued: “[He and others] had to stay outside in the cold half of the day” before being transferred to a “military base, then to a hall to sleep with over a 1,000 people.”

“This… was the message that made me take off my lappa: “I am here!” God’s grace!! God’s favor!! I am sitting here watching CNN in tears because parents are in tears, wives and kids,” Arsenio’s excited mother, Grand Bassa County Senator, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, wrote on her Facebook after the text.

Very Sad

Senator Lawrence described the terrorist attacks as “very sad” and added, “Our prayers for the victims, bereaved families and may the deceased rest in peace.”

Arsenio Allen, currently in college and living with an aunt in Pennsylvania, PA, was returning from Liberia where he had traveled to bury his elder brother, 36 year-old Cyril Afam Allen two weeks earlier.

Cyril Afam Allen, the son of former NPP’s chairman, Chief Cyril Allen, died in a tragic car accident March 5th while returning home from the Roberts International Airport, Liberia, after accompanying his mother and wife who were returning to the US.

Ordered to Evacuate

Explaining his ordeal Saturday, in an exclusive interview with The AfricaPaper, Arsenio Allen observed an airport security guard ran into the waiting area at Gate B-5 and ordered everyone to evacuate at once. That happened moments after he arrived, collected his boarding pass, and took seat, awaiting his next flight to the US, United Airlines.

For a while he said, “everyone was confused,” and not knowing what had happened. “I kept asking people what’s going on and one guy said there is bomb in the airport,” he explained.

It was after he and other travelers stepped out in the open that they looked into the distance and saw a gaping hole in the roof of the terminal building where the blast had occurred.

Bus Ride to Paris

Ms. Elita Rita Weah, the Liberia-Dutch woman killed, took this shot earlier before the terrorists attacks. Photo: The AfricaPaper File

Ms. Elita Rita Weah, the Liberia-Dutch woman killed, took this shot earlier before the terrorists attacks. Photo: The AfricaPaper File

He indicated after they spent a night at a facility that looked like a military base near the city, Belgian authorities moved them onto a bus that took them on a four-hour ride to Paris, France. There, accordingly, he was placed on a flight to Montreal, Canada, and thereafter, flew to Newark, New Jersey where an aunt picked him up.

Altogether, he spent about four days in transit before finally making it home late Thursday, March 24th, having left Liberia March 21st.

Arsenio’s journeys to and from Liberia was ominously characterized by misfortunes. While in transit on his way to Liberia, he had to pass a night in Brussels when a plane scheduled to take him to Liberia developed faults and needed to be repaired. The incident, he said caused him to miss his brother’s burial.

Under Attack   

During the morning of March 22, 2016, Brussels, the capital of Belgium, came under attack by at least three suicide bombers in what Brussels law enforcement authorities have described as three coordinated attacks; two at Brussels International Airport, the other, in the city’s Maalbeek Metro Station.
In all, Brussels police said, over 33 people, most of them travelers, including a Liberian-Dutch woman identified as Elita Rita Weah, died and hundreds got wounded. The three suspected suicide bombers also perished. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. |TAP| Africa’s Newspaper of Record  

The AfricaPaper: James K. Fasuekoi is Associate Editor for The AfricaPaper

 

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