'We prayed in the street' - SA priest on Manchester bomb attack

2017-05-23 12:36
Dean of the City of Manchester Rogers Govender, originally from Durban, described the scenes in the Manchester city centre on Tuesday morning as 'bewildering and surreal'. (Supplied)

Dean of the City of Manchester Rogers Govender, originally from Durban, described the scenes in the Manchester city centre on Tuesday morning as 'bewildering and surreal'. (Supplied)

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Cape Town – The Dean of the City of Manchester, who is originally from Durban, says scenes outside the Manchester Arena are bewildering, with the entire city centre under lockdown following a deadly bomb attack on Monday night.

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"The atmosphere at the moment is rather surreal; the entire area of the city centre is on lockdown. People are coming into the city unable to get to work, with police officers walking around the entire area," Church of England Dean Rogers Govender told News24 on Tuesday morning.

"Police are seen carrying guns. Compared to South Africa, police here are not allowed to carry guns in public, unless something occurred – it’s bewildering and surreal."

Govender has been a dean in the city for about 11 years.

'Rather confused'

He lives roughly 3km from the Manchester Arena, where 22 people were killed in a bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert on Monday evening.

Govender said he had never experienced anything similar in the city before.

"People are feeling rather confused, they are thinking, 'Might this terrible attack occur again throughout the day?'," he said.

The Manchester Cathedral is around the corner from the Manchester Arena.

Govender said congregants had not been allowed to enter the cathedral following the attack because it fell in the area which was under lockdown.

"We normally have prayers at 9am in the morning, but this morning we decided to just do prayers on street. It felt appropriate given the tragedy," he said.

The Department of International Relations could not confirm if any South Africans were injured in the attack.

- Read more: No reports yet of South Africans affected by Manchester Arena explosion

Govender was also unaware of any injured South Africans.

"I only saw one person walking around the city centre with a green Springbok jersey, which I assume is South African, but he was not injured," he said.

Manchester police described the incident as a terrorist attack, but according to reports, no organisation has claimed responsibility yet.

Govender condemned the incident.

"There is a political process and we hope people voice their concern through it," he said.

"People should not use terror to get their message across."


Read more on:    uk  |  explosions  |  security

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