Eleven people killed in a stampede at a crusade held by a popular prophet

PRETORIA: Eleven people were killed in a stampede at a crusade held by a popular prophet in Kwekwe, central Zimbabwe, today, police and a religious organization said.

A number of others were reportedly injured when police fired teargas into a crowd of around 15,000 people trying to leave a stadium at the close of the religious rally early on Friday morning.

Officers were believed to have blocked all but one exit. Pictures posted on social media showed a collapsed wall at Mbizo Stadium in the small mining town.

Walter Magaya, the head of the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries, told Zimbabwean tabloid H-Metro that he was gutted. He had already left the venue when he got news that there was a commotion. Within minutes he was told that eight people had died.

Zenzele Ndebele, editor of the independent Radio Dialogue in Bulawayo, wrote on social networking site Twitter: ‘I don’t understand why police will block exits and then throw teargas on innocent people.’

This is the second incident in less than a month involving police firing teargas at crowds in an indoor space.

A number of people were reported injured at a dance hall competition on November 8 in Harare, when police fired teargas to disperse fans of two rival dance hall artists.