Children among the fatalities in Tanzania church stampede

Published Tuesday, February 04, 2020  |  

At least 20 people, including children, were killed in a stampede at a church service in Tanzania on Saturday.

The tragedy is reported to have occurred when worshippers rushed forward to be anointed by oil.

At least 16 people were injured in the crush during the service at Moshi, close to Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Pentecostal service was led by pastor Boniface Mwamposa, leader of the Arise and Shine Ministry Tanzania.

He has been arrested and is being questioned by police, Sky News reports.

Witness Peter Kilewo told the AFP news agency that what he saw was "horrible". He described people being "trampled on mercilessly, jostling each other with elbows".

He added: "It was like the preacher had thrown bundles of dollars about."

Moshi district commissioner Kippi Warioba said it was possible that the number of casualties could rise.

"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," he told Reuters.