Tanzania to probe deadly disco stampede

Tanzanian police on Thursday questioned managers of a hall where a stampede killed 19 merrymakers, an official said, in what a newspaper described as the ”worst-ever” disaster during Eid al-Fitr.

”A team has been formed to investigate the incident and it is expected to issue a preliminary report later today [Thursday],” Tabora regional commissioner Abeid Mwinyimusa said.

”Some hall managers are being held by police for questioning,” he said, without elaborating.

The incident occurred late on Wednesday in the remote Tabora region, 750km north-west of the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, where a large number of youths had gathered for Eid al-Fitr festivities marking the end of Ramadan.

After abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and sex between dawn and sundown each day of Ramadan, Tanzanian youth break their fast, iftar, by organising a jamboree called ”disco toto”.

Eleven girls and eight boys — aged between 12 and 17 — died and several others wounded in the hall owned by the state-run National Social Security Fund.

”Sixteen others were admitted in Tabora Regional Hospital, three of them in critical condition,” Mwinyimusa added.

He said rescue teams rushed to the scene shortly after the stampede that took place between 5.30pm and 6.15pm on Wednesday. The cause of the stampede is yet to be known.

President Jakaya Kikwete sent condolences to the bereaved families who will be allowed to collect bodies from the town’s mortuary later on Thursday.

”This is the worst-ever disaster to occur during Eid al-Fitr celebration in the country’s history,” Tanzania’s Nipashe newspaper mourned. — Sapa-AFP

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