5 Dead, 14 Severely Injured in Katsina Charity Stampede

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BY ANDY ASEMOTA, Katsina

Tragedy struck at Rafindadi Quarters in Katsina State capital on Sunday as no fewer than five persons and about 14 others escaped with various degrees of severe injuries during a scramble for charity, popularly known as Zakkat, at the residence of a philanthropist cum businessman, Ma’a Gafai.

LEADERSHIP gathered that one of the sons of the philanthropist, identified as Kamal, 35, who stood in for the man said to be away to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj, was helping police investigation into the incident.

The police spokesman, Katsina State Command, Gambo Isah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) who confirmed this yesterday, said security operatives led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Central Police Station (CPS) Katsina, who rushed to the area sequel to a tip off, evacuated the injured and the remains of the deceased persons to Katsina General Hospital.

 He said Kamal Gafai, is being held by the police because of the circumstance of the tragedy and the subsisting ban on unauthorized public gathering in the state, adding that the matter is still under investigation.

At the hospital, LEADERSHIP gathered that four of the remains of the teenage girls aged 12 to 13 years had been identified by their relatives as Maryam Bello, Rabiatu Lawal, Aisha Musa’ud and Ribiatu Kabir and conveyed home for burial on Sunday according to Islamic rites.

Similarly, a total of 14 victims who cheated death in the stampede were also said to have been treated and discharged by the hospital authorities.

A Resident of Rafindadi Quarters said the crowd build-up which started at dawn on Sunday as young girls and women thronged into the area in their numbers was at its peak by 7.30am when the stampede occurred as many surged forward to receive the N500 being distributed as charity to the less privileged female.

The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, is said to have paid a sympathy visit to the victims at the hospital where he also condoled with some relations of the deceased persons.