11 die in Zimbabwe crusade stampede

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

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

“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 tear gas at innocent people.”

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

A number of people were reported injured at a dance hall competition on November 8 in Harare, when police fired tear gas 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.

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