KUMASI, Ghana (ABP) — Baptists in Ghana are mourning the deaths of four ministerial students killed Dec. 11 in a bus crash while on their way to a classmate's wedding.
Twelve more passengers were injured — two critically — when the bus owned by Ghana Baptist University College crashed into a stalled truck loaded with teak between the school's main campus in Kumasi and Ghana's capital and largest city, Accra.
An online news service in Ghana reported that officials at the college confirmed that three students died at the scene and a fourth died later at a hospital. Acting Register Ayim Nayko Amanfo identified the dead as Felix Owusu Ansah of Christ Baptist Church in Kumasi, George Boafo Nyamson of Miracle Baptist Church in Ghana's Western Region, Andrews Dorwunah of Sunyani and Francis Owusu Adjei of First Baptist Church in Tema.
All four were studying toward the bachelor of theology degree at the university's School of Theology and Ministry.
News reports said the bus carrying 32 passengers was traveling at a high rate of speed when the crash occurred at about 5:30 a.m. Officials said the truck, abandoned on a shoulder overnight, partially blocked the travel lane. Both drivers were cited.
The accident was one of three weekend wrecks that killed a total of 10 people in the Ashanti Region in middle Ghana. Government officials expressed alarm at the high rate of traffic accidents in the country — the vast majority due to human error — and called on both police and drivers to be diligent in having disabled vehicles towed from roads.
Amanfo said that after police conclude their investigation, the university will appoint a committee to study its own traffic-safety policies. He extended condolences on behalf of the university community to bereaved families and wished rapid recovery for the injured.
Ghana Baptist University College is one of the country's newest universities. Sponsored by the Ghana Baptist Convention, the school opened in 2006 alongside the Ghana Baptist Seminary in Abuakwa. The university later added two other campuses in the former headquarters of the Ghana Baptist Convention in Kumasi and in Accra.
Baptist work in Ghana dates to the early 20th century when the Southern Baptist and Nigeria Baptist conventions sent missionaries to what was formerly known as Africa's Gold Coast. Ghana Baptists formed their own separate convention in 1963. The Ghana Baptist Convention now numbers about 1,100 churches in 30 associations across the country.
The convention works in partnership with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, but in recent years — as the IMB shifted strategies toward focusing on people groups — Ghana Baptists have sought new partners.
In 2002 the Ghana Baptist Convention signed a partnership agreement with International Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA.
Ghana was host to the Baptist World Alliance's annual gathering in 2007. That meeting was marked by the election of Jamaican-born Neville Callam as the first non-white general secretary of the worldwide Baptist fellowship and by a worship service of reconciliation at a castle formerly used in slave trade to the Americas, Caribbean and Europe.
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.