National

Michael Moses Ward Dies at 41; Sole Surviving Child of MOVE Bombing

[Los Angeles Times]
Michael Moses Ward in 2005
Michael Moses Ward in 2005. (Michael Bryant, Philadelphia Inquirer / December 20, 2005)

Michael Moses Ward, one of two survivors of the 1985 bombing of the militant group MOVE in a Philadelphia neighborhood and the only child to make it out alive, has died at 41.

Ward died aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean, according to the Brevard County, Fla., medical examiner’s office. His body was found in a hot tub Friday, and he appeared to have drowned, investigator Craig Engelson said Wednesday.

Ward was a 13-year-old boy known as Birdie Africa when Philadelphia police, trying to dislodge MOVE from its fortified urban compound, dropped explosives on the roof. The bombing killed five children and six adult members of the group and ignited a fire that destroyed 61 row homes.

Ward, who ran naked from the burning compound, was the only child to survive the bombing, and Ramona Africa, then 29 and known as the group’s “minister of communications,” the only adult. His mother, Rhonda Africa, was among those killed in the siege.

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