At least 20 dead in stampede in the religious service of Tanzania

GIVING IS SALAAM: At least 20 people were killed and more than a dozen were injured in a stampede during a religious service in a stadium in northern Tanzania, a government official said on Sunday.

Hundreds of people filled a stadium on Saturday night near the slopes of mount Kilimanjaro and they crushed as they ran to be anointed with blessed oil.

Twenty people died and another 16 were injured in the incident, the Moshi district commissioner told Reuters by phone. Five of those killed were children, he said.

The stampede occurred when the faithful rushed to be anointed with blessed oil, Warioba said.

Pastor Boniface Mwamposa has been attracting large crowds by promising prosperity and cure for the disease to the faithful who walk on what he describes as a blessed oil during the services of his church.

Authorities fear that the death toll could increase due to the size of the crowd and dark conditions when the stampede occurred.

The incident took place at night and there were many people, so there is a possibility that more victims will arise. We are still evaluating the situation, Warioba said.

Tanzania has seen an increase in the number of pastors of the prosperity gospel in recent years, who promise to take people out of poverty and perform what they call miraculous cures.

Thousands of people in the nation of 55 million go to Pentecostal churches, whose main source of income is tithing, 10% of the income that the faithful are asked to contribute.