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 CNS Story:

NIGERIA-STAMPEDE Nov-4-2013 (170 words) xxxi

Nigerian archbishop says stampede caused by false alarm, not sabotage

By Catholic News Service

ONITSHA, Nigeria (CNS) -- Archbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha said a stampede that left at least 25 people dead was caused by a false alarm raised by someone not yet identified.

In a statement read by Father Uche Ukor, archdiocesan social communication director, the archbishop said that stampede in the early hours of Nov. 2 at Holy Ghost Adoration Center in Uke was not caused by a snake or any act of sabotage.

"It is also an unfortunate incident, and my heart goes to the families, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives," the archbishop said.

He said each first Friday, a vigil is held at the center, and the crowd Nov. 1 was larger than usual because it was All Saints' Day, a holy day of obligation.

Father Ukor said Archbishop Okeke would not delve into politics or speak for any politician.

Elections for the governor of Anambra state, where Uke is located, are Nov. 16. Several politicians were in the crowd.


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