Port Loko District, SIERRA LEONE – A horrific family accident followed by a devastating inferno involving a vehicle with registration ATK-484, a three-seater, which occurred between Gbere Junction and Lunsar on the highway in Port Loko District over the weekend, has left 10-year-old Michael A. Koroma, a member of the Sampha family, in a state of disaster, struggling, and facing an uncertain future regarding his education at the SOS School in Makeni, Bombali District.
According to Sheik Abdulrahman Noah Sesay, a family member of the Sampha family, there were twelve people on board the ill-fated vehicle en route to Freetown. Tragically, they were involved in a fatal accident between Gbere Junction and Lunsar in Port Loko District.
“The accident was so catastrophic that it is difficult to ascertain exactly how it happened. Unfortunately, the driver and passengers who lost their lives cannot provide any details of the incident,” said Sesay, who believed that all 12 people on board were involved in the horrifying accident. Four individuals seated in the back of the three-seater vehicle managed to escape the accident, which occurred when they collided with a stationary truck parked on the side of the road.
One victim who was injured during the accident was admitted to Makeni Hospital but tragically passed away due to the severity of the injuries sustained. The vehicle was engulfed in flames, and the remains of the victims could only be collected as fossils.
Umaru Sampha Bangura, his wife, and two children, 10-year-old Michael Sampha Bangura and 10-month-old Mustapha Sampha Bangura, did not survive the accident. Michael, the eldest of the three, who was left at home that day on Makama Road in Makeni, is a fourth-grade pupil. He had initially been attending the International College but was transferred to the SOS School in Makeni, where he now resides with his guardian, Madam Saudiatu Binatu Kamara, who is the elder sister of his late mother, Ballu Kuyateh.
The decision to transfer Michael to SOS was influenced by his father’s connection to the school, as Umaru Sampha Bangura was an alumnus of SOS in Freetown, having attended the school on Beach Road.
For Michael’s uncle, Sheik Sesay, the greatest challenge now is determining how to provide for the child’s needs. Speaking at their family residence in Haja Fatmata, Wellington Bai Bureh East in Freetown, he expressed his concerns about who would now take responsibility for the child.
The late mother, Madam Abibatu Sesay, faced tremendous challenges after her husband’s death during the civil war in Bonthe, where he was stationed. Left with three young children who had not yet started school, she managed to raise and educate them with the support of her family members and relatives.
“Umaru Sampha Bangura was the breadwinner for his nuclear family, his mother, and cousins back home,” said Sheik Sesay, highlighting how Umaru’s commitment to his family extended beyond his immediate household. He was devoted to the progress and education of his younger siblings and had plans to bring them together and monitor their educational journeys.
Zainab Bangura, Umaru Sampha’s elder sister, who had recently visited Sierra Leone from Gambia upon her brother’s invitation, had promised to sponsor his return flight to Gambia when she was ready.
Recalling her brother, Zainab said, “Sampha was a very lovely and caring person. He was someone anyone would want to meet. He never seemed to have any problems. We used to interact daily. In the mornings, he would call me on the phone and say, ‘Have you not woken up yet?’ I would reply that I had just gotten out of bed, and he would jokingly say, ‘That’s why you’re getting too fat or gaining weight.'”
A month before his death, Sampha had rented several rooms in the Deep Yai Water area in the western rural part of Freetown for his mother to live in.
The tragic accident has left the family deeply bereaved, and they are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their beloved Umaru Sampha Bangura and his family.AJ/2/10/2023