By Munyaradzi Musiiwa Herald Reporter
Eleven people died while many others were seriously injured after a stampede at Prophet Magaya’s all night crusade at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe this morning.
The incident occured soon after the crusade, which was attended by about 15 000 congregants, when police allegedly closed other gates forcing the attendees to use a single exit point.
It is alleged that the congregants then brought down the stadium’s precast wall to open other exit points. Chaos reigned supreme when police details fired teargas into the crowd resulting in the stampede.
Eleven people, including three minors, died on the spot as a result of the stampede. The bodies were taken to Kwekwe District Hospital mortuary.
Officer Commanding Midlands Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Shadreck Mubaiwa confirmed the incident but could not give further details.
“I am yet to receive finer details with regards to the incident,” he said.
Meanwhile, PHD ministries founder, Prophet Walter Magaya told H-Metro this morning that he had received information that of the 11 people that have been confirmed dead included a pregnant woman and three minors.
The crusade was originally meant for Thursday and Friday but today’s service has since been cancelled following the tragedy.
Prophet Magaya had already left the venue when the stampede occurred and he had to rush back to the venue on getting news of the stampede.
“I am gutted…I had already left the venue when I got news that there was commotion at the venue and moments later I was told of people seriously injured. Within minutes I was told that eight people had died and others were serious. 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 and of the dead include a pregnant woman and a child. I will be meeting with the authorities and all stakeholders before we can issue an official statement on the tragedy. ”
A shaken Prophet Magaya told H-Metro that he will take the blame for the tragedy.
“This was our event and as a church we have to take the blame for the tragedy. It is still too early to say what caused the stampede but the fact that the stampede took place at the venue means that part of our system failed to function.”
Details to follow…