30 December 2018

South Africa: Church Stampede - Police Seek Help to Identify 3 Women Killed

Photo: Nyasa Times
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri speaks to his congregation (file photo).

Police are appealing for assistance in finding the next of kin of three people who died during a stampede at Prophet Shepherd Bushiri's Enlightened Christian Gathering Church in Pretoria on Friday night.

Police spokesperson Captain Augustinah Selepe told News24 on Sunday that the three females who died were still unknown.

"People who think they are related to the deceased must come to Pretoria mortuary tomorrow at 10:00. They must bring along their own ID documents and IDs of the deceased," Selepe said.

Selepe previously said that the police only heard about the stampede on Saturday afternoon, and officers were immediately dispatched to the scene.

The church is situated at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria.

According to Selepe, the police believe that a thunderstorm prompted the congregation to push each other around during a church service, leading to the stampede. The service began at around 20:00 on Friday.

Terrance Baloyi of Baloyi Ntsako Attorneys told News24 on Sunday that those who were injured were transported from hospital and provided with accommodation and catering.

"As we speak those who are remaining are about 10... we gave them accommodation at Pretoria Protea hotel," he said.

He said once the deceased are identified, the church will assist their families.

Baloyi also told News24 that preparations for the church's New Year's Eve event at the Pretoria showground were at final stages.

"We have added two major halls that we feel will cater for enough people. We have beefed up security - they are known as marshals and we trained more than 2000 so far," he said.

Baloyi had earlier told News24 that the stampede occurred when people tried to take shelter inside the church during a thunderstorm.

He said some people panicked and he confirmed that three people were knocked unconscious.

"We regret the incident as a church because it happened within our premises," Baloyi said.

According to the police, the exact cause of the incident is still unconfirmed.

Source: News24

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