5:31 am - Thursday November 5, 2015

Church stampede in Anambra, Nigeria, ‘kills 24′

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Nigeria church stampede, Anambra State, Uke town church
Nigeria church stampede, Anambra State, Uke town church

LAGOS – At least 24 people have been killed and many more injured in a stampede at the end of a religious vigil in eastern Nigeria, officials say.

More than 100,000 people were said to have gathered at the venue of the incident, the Holy Ghost Adoration Ground in Anambra State.

Local media say that the death toll could be higher.

Anambra governor Peter Obi had been at the event and later returned to visit the injured in hospital.

The stampede took place at about 06:00 (05:00 GMT) on Saturday.

Anambra is about 300km (185 miles) south of Abuja.

Officials say at least 17 people died in a stampede at an all-night church vigil disrupted by politicking over a contentious November 18, 2013 gubernatorial election in Nigeria’s southeast Anambra State.

Police Deputy Inspector-General Emmanuel Kachi Udeoji said the stampede occurred before dawn Saturday at an All Saints’ Day open-air vigil attended by tens of thousands and organised by St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in the town of Uke.

Anambra government spokesman Mike Udah said he counted the bodies of 17 victims at one local hospital.

Newspaper and TV reports say outgoing Governor Peter Obi attended the event earlier but left after he was booed as he tried to promote his gubernatorial candidate.

Some witnesses blamed both contesting political parties for the chaos.

“We have visited the hospital in Nkpor and found 24 corpses that were brought in from the scene of the disaster,” spokesman Mike Udah told AFP news agency.

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