At least 20 people have been killed and scores injured in a stampede during an outdoor ‘anointing’ crusade in Tanzania.
According to authorities and eyewitnesses, the stampede took place at a stadium in the northern town of Moshi on the evening of Saturday, February 1 where worshippers were attending a Pentecostal service.
Moshi District Commissioner Kippi Warioba confirmed the incident saying the attendees rushed forward to be anointed with ‘blessed oil’ leading to the stampede, BBC reported.
The service was held by a self-styled apostle and pastor Boniface Mwamposa.
Survivors and witnesses said Mwamposa told hundreds of people gathered at the service to pass through an area where “blessed oil” had been poured over the floor.
The crowd rushed forward to try to step in the oil in the hope of being cured of sickness.
In the ensuing melee, people were “trampled on mercilessly, jostling each other with elbows” an eye-witness quoted by AFP underlined the gravity of the situation.
Police said Mwamposa was in police custody for questioning. There is fear that more casualties could emerge.
“The incident took place at night and there were many people, so there is a possibility that more casualties could emerge. We are assessing the situation,” said Warioba.
Do you have a story you would like us to publish? Please reach us through firstname.lastname@example.org or call/SMS +254 731 469269