20 dead in stampede at Tanzania church service

Associated Press

DODOMA, Tanzania (AP) — Twenty people have died and a dozen others were injured in a stampede during a church meeting in the northern Tanzanian city of Moshi, the government said Sunday.

The stampede was caused by church faithful being ushered to pass through one exit at the meeting venue so they could walk on “anointed oil,” according to a statement by a government spokesman.

Hundreds of worshippers attended the prayer meeting Saturday led by Boniface Mwamposa, a popular preacher who heads the Arise and Shine Ministry Tanzania.

Tanzania’s Interior Minister George Simbachawene said Mwamposa had been arrested. Simbachawene said the government will review the associations act, with the intention of strengthening the requirements to register as a church.

He accused the church of not taking enough precautions and violating the terms of its permit for the meeting, which ran two hours later than planned.