AT LEAST 20 people, including five children, have been killed, and more than a dozen have been injured in a stampede in a Pentecostal service in Tanzania, East Africa.
Thousands of worshippers were being ushered through an exit of a sports stadium in the town of Moshi, near Mount Kilimanjaro, on Saturday afternoon, when the stampede occurred. A government spokesperson said that people had rushed to be anointed with “blessed oil” offered by the pastor, Boniface Mwamposa.
Mr Mwamposa, who leads the Arise and Shine Ministry Tanzania, was arrested on his way to another prayer service in Dar es Salaam, on the Tanzanian coast. He has been attracting large crowds, and reportedly promises prosperity and cures for diseases to people who step in the oil.
The Tanzanian Home Affairs Minister, George Simbachawene, told Reuters on Sunday: “Mwamposa tried to flee after this incident, but we arrested him in Dar es Salaam. . . He will be held accountable for causing this tragedy.”
The church had not taken sufficient safety precautions, and the meeting overran by two hours, he said. “The incident took place at night, and there were many people; so there is a possibility that more casualties could emerge. We are still assessing the situation.”
The police have launched an investigation.