Five dead in stampede while mourning Tanzania’s Magufuli

Five dead in stampede while mourning Tanzania’s Magufuli
Five dead in stampede while mourning Tanzania’s Magufuli

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Military officers escort a gun carriage carrying the coffin of late Tanzanian President John Magufuli draped in the national flag, during the State Funeral Procession at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma, Tanzania March 22, 2021. — Picture courtesy of Presidential Press Service/ Handout via Reuters

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DAR ES SALAAM (Tanzania), March 24 — A woman and four children were killed in a stampede in Tanzania as crowds rushed to mourn Tanzania’s late president John Magufuli at the weekend, a relative told AFP yesterday.

A second woman was also missing after going to Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, where tens of thousands gathered to mourn Magufuli whose sudden death after a mysterous short illness was announced last week.

“They went to bid farewell at the stadium, but it turned tragic when there was a stampede,” Gerald Mtuwa, a relative of the dead woman, told AFP by phone from Dar es Salaam.

The children were aged between five and 12 years old, he said. The woman killed was mother to two of them, while the other two were her nephews.

Mtuwa said the family has checked hospitals and morgues in the financial capital for the missing woman, but she has not been found and the family fear the worst.

The stampede occurred as mourners crammed the streets around the stadium where Magufuli’s casket was in state at the weekend.

The government announced on March 17 that Magufuli, 61, had died from a long-running heart condition and declared 21 days of mourning.

But the announcement followed a mysterious absence of almost three weeks and questions remain over the true cause of his death, which the opposition has said was from Covid-19.

Magufuli was a Covid-sceptic, a stance which saw Tanzania refuse to issue data on the disease or take any measures to curb the spread of the virus.

His deputy Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in Friday to become Tanzania’s first female president.

Magufuli was given a state funeral on Monday in Dodoma at a ceremony attended by African leaders from across the continent.

His casket, at present in the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, will be flown to the city of Mwanza today before the late president is laid to rest in his ancestral village of Chato in northwest Tanzania on Friday. — AFP

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