11 Nigerian church collapse victims still to be identified

2015-01-09 11:11

South Africa’s government says the process of identifying 11 South Africans killed in a church building collapse in Nigeria has commenced.

“The government is committed to repatriating the remains of the 11 bodies. The work of the verification has commenced following the festive break,” spokesperson Phumla Williams said today.

“We will communicate with the families as soon as the Nigerian laboratory has finalised the process.”

Eighty-five South Africans died and 26 were injured when a building at TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos in September last year.

Seventy-four bodies have already been repatriated.

“Eleven bodies remain unaccounted for due to the inability to match the DNA samples,” Williams said.

She said social workers and the South African forensic unit had visited the families of the 11 people.

“Fresh samples were collected from the family representatives. These samples have been submitted to the laboratory for processing.”

Williams said that the government was continuing to collaborate with the Nigerian authorities to identify the bodies.

“The government acknowledges that families of the victims need closure to begin the healing process. This can only happen once their loved ones are brought back home for proper burials,” she said.

She appealed to religious communities to continue praying for the affected families.

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