A horrific stampede at a church service left at least 31 people, including children, crushed to death, according to local media.
The tragic incident happened during an event at King’s Assembly Church in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
A pregnant woman and three children are believed to be among the victims.
Hundreds of people who showed up to receive food at the church early Saturday broke through a doorway, sparking a stampede, said Grace Iringe-Koko, a spokeswoman for the Rivers State Police.
“People were there earlier and some got impatient and started rushing which led to a stampede. Police are on the ground monitoring the situation while the investigation is ongoing,” Iringe said. -Koko.
According to a witness, people started arriving on Friday for the Saturday morning event while others arrived as early as 6.30am.
It was billed to start at 9 a.m., but a separate group arrived at 8 a.m. to use the space for a workout, opening a small door which the crowd rushed in.
The witness told Punch that most of the victims were taken to a nearby military hospital in Port Harcourt.
He said: ‘The incident happened this morning. The church has invited people for its fourth annual food and gift distribution.
“Some have come since Friday while many others have come as early as 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
“Those doing sports opened the back door and the effervescent crowd wanted to enter the back door and got pushed around.
“I counted about 21 bodies on the ground.
“It is not the first time that the church has organized this program, but the crowd from yesterday until this morning is important.
“It was said that gifts and free food would be served. It is very painful “.