No update on church collapse DNA - govt

2014-10-30 11:51
The site of the Nigeria church collapse. (File: AP)

The site of the Nigeria church collapse. (File: AP)

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Johannesburg - There has been no update on the DNA analysis of the 116 victims of the church building collapse in Nigeria, government said on Thursday.

"We still have not been given an update. We know that the DNA is at a lab in Cape Town. We still have not been given any information on how far the process is," said Phumla Williams, speaking on behalf of the inter-ministerial task team on Nigeria.

"The lab reports directly to Nigerian authorities, so the information depends on them."

She said a media briefing would be held to provide details on the repatriation of the South African victims' remains once information was available.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced on 23 October that the DNA samples arrived at a laboratory in South Africa for analysis.

Radebe was not able to say how long this process would take.

"Only when the DNA analysis has been finalised will our government be able to conclusively identify South Africans from among the 116 people who died in this incident," he said.

It is believed 85 people from South Africa were among those killed when a multi-storey guesthouse attached to the Synagogue Church of All Nations, run by Nigerian preacher TB Joshua, collapsed in Lagos on 12 September.

The National Joint Intelligence Structure had agreed that on announcement of release of the bodies, an advanced team - comprising officials of the National Disaster Management Centre, the SA Military Health Service, the national health department, and the SA Police Service's forensic service - would go to Lagos.

"The advance team will finalise all necessary and administrative processes and prepare the mortal remains for their final journey back home," Radebe said at the time.

"The intricate preparatory work may take up to seven days to complete from the time of the team's arrival in Lagos.

"From Waterkloof, the mortal remains will be transported by road to their respective provinces, where families will proceed with their own funeral arrangements."

Read more on:    tb joshua  |  jeff radebe  |  pretoria  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  nigeria building collapse

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