Zimbabwe: 11 People Die in Church Service Stampede

Zimbabwe: 11 People Die in Church Service Stampede

Eleven people were killed and Thursday (Nov. 20) after a stampede occurred after a church service in Zimbabwe.

Christian Today reports that a service featuring prominent Pentecostal pastor Walter Magaya drew 30,000 people. After the service, the crowd rushed toward a single exit because police had closed other doors. In the struggle to exit the stadium, concrete walls were broken down and police fired tear gas into the crowd which prompted the stampede. 

Four people were killed instantly and seven died after being transported to a nearby hospital. Numerous others sustained injuries. 

Of the eleven who died, three were children and one woman was pregnant. 

Senior Assistant Commissioner Shadreck Mubaiwa said, "Police tried to rescue people but they were overwhelmed by the crowds. It is unfortunate that people wanted to rush out, which made it difficult to contain the situation." 

Pastor Magaya had already left the stadium when the stampede occurred. He returned to the stadium and called it “the saddest moment of my life.”

Magaya said, "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."

Publication date: November 21, 2014