11 Die In Kwe Kwe At Magaya Stampede

Eleven people died while 40 others were seriously injured after a stampede at a Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries’ crusade at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe Wednesday evening. The stampede, which claimed four lives on the spot and seven on admission at Kwekwe Hospital, is alleged to have started soon after the church service around 10pm when police closed all exits forcing about thirty thousand congregants to use one narrow exit point. It is said to relieve pressure that was mounting at the exit point, the congregants forced down the precast wall on the western side of Mbizo Stadium. Police are said to have further worsened the situation by firing teargas into the crowd resulting in the stampede that claimed the lives of eleven people including that of children and seriously injuring forty others. When the ZBC News visited Kwekwe Hospital there was a sombre atmosphere as relatives of the deceased were assisting police to identify the bodies of the deceased. In separate interviews with the ZBC News people heaped the blame of the tragic event on the police that were deployed at the stadium. Meanwhile, the Officer Commanding Midlands Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Mubaiwa confirmed that there was one exit point that was manned by police. He however said the problem started when the congregants were moving out and those in front started tripping due to the pressure that was coming from people behind them who were rushing to leave the stadium. He said police at the main gate used force to control the crowds as they tried to rescue those who had fallen on the ground. He however dismissed reports that the police used tear smoke. The carrying capacity of Mbizo Stadium is estimated at 7 000 and yet it is said a crowd of about 30 000 people is believed to have been at the crusade. Midlands Minister of State Jason Machaya has sent a message of condolence to bereaved families. ZBC