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World News

20 dead in stampede at Tanzania church service

by Cara Bentley

At least 20 people are dead after a stampede at a Pentecostal meeting in Tanzania, including five children. 

Hundreds of Christians were attending a prayer meeting at an outside stage in the northern town of Moshi on Saturday led by pastor Boniface Mwamposa from Arise and Shine Ministry. 

 

Arise and Shine Ministry Tanzania Facebook 

 

They were invited by him to walk through 'blessed oil' and a rush to do so caused the trampling of over 20 people. 

One man who attended the service, described the scene as "horrible", telling AFP news agency people were "trampled on mercilessly, jostling each other with elbows".

He said: "It was like the preacher had thrown bundles of dollars about."

Boniface Mwamposa, who refers to himself as 'Apostle Bulldozer Mwamposa', teaches that 'blessed' oil can heal people's illnesses. He is being questioned by police. 

Facebook posts from him say: "When you tread on oil, your feet will be iron and bronze. You will be blessed and extended in your offspring, children, economy, business, career and every area of your life, you will find favor, you will be accepted and turned into someone else."

Sixteen others were injured in the incident, according to the Moshi district commissioner, Kippi Warioba. 

The event, near Mount Kilimanjaro, happened after dark. 

Tanzania's President John Magufuli sent his condolences and called for better security at such large events.

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