11 die in Zimbabwe stampede at prophet's crusade

2014-11-21 12:13

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Harare - Eleven people were killed in a stampede at a crusade held by a popular prophet in Kwekwe, central Zimbabwe, on Friday, police and a religious organisation said.

A number of others were reportedly injured when police fired teargas into a crowd of around 15 000 people trying to leave a stadium at the close of the religious rally early on Friday morning.

Officers were believed to have blocked all but one exit.

Pictures posted on social media showed a collapsed wall at Mbizo Stadium in the small mining town.

Walter Magaya, the head of the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries, told Zimbabwean tabloid H-Metro: "I am gutted. I had already left the venue when I got news that there was a commotion. Within minutes I was told that eight people had died.

"Saddest moment of my life"

"I rushed back to the venue and it was very sad, the saddest moment of my life. As of this morning I am made to understand that three more died," Magaya said.

Zenzele Ndebele, editor of the independent Radio Dialogue in Bulawayo, wrote on social networking site Twitter: "I don't understand why police will block exits and then throw teargas on innocent people."

This is the second incident in less than a month involving police firing teargas at crowds in an indoor space.

A number of people were reported injured at a dance hall competition on 8 November in Harare, when police fired teargas to disperse fans of two rival dance hall artists.

"Someone please do something about these overzealous Zim policemen," Twitter user @waltseth tweeted.

Police have confirmed the latest incident.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  religion

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