Five people, four of whom were children, died in a reported stampede to view the body of former Tanzanian President John Magufuli, the Associated Press reported.
Tens of thousands of Tanzanians attended a public viewing of the former president’s body at Uhuru Stadium, resulting in a stampede that killed 30-year-old Suzan Mtua and four children between the ages of seven to 12 years old, according to the Associated Press.
I have, with great sadness, learnt of the death of His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli. He was a pragmatic leader who believed in and worked for the economic empowerment of East Africans. We join Tanzania in mourning the passing of a great son of Africa. May his soul rest in peace pic.twitter.com/bzm188cKgF
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) March 18, 2021
“The children had demanded they also attend the funeral of President Magufuli,” family spokesman Heri Mtua said, according to the Associated Press. “Later that day we received a call late evening by an unknown person using Suzan’s phone.” The individual said Suzan had been taken to the hospital, but the family eventually found her body at the morgue, Heri stated, according to the Associated Press.
Hundreds of other attendees fainted during the stampede, and authorities hinted that others may have died as they are preparing to release a statement on the number of casualties from Sunday’s event Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
Magufuli died Wednesday of heart failure, the government of Tanzania claimed, according to the Associated Press. However, some believe that Magufuli died from complications of COVID-19, and, because he took a skeptical stance on the virus’ impact, the true cause of his death is being withheld, the Associated Press reported. Magufuli was last seen publicly Feb. 27, when he swore in a new chief secretary after the individual who previously held the role died, according to the Associated Press. Some have speculated the former chief secretary died of COVID-19, according to the Associated Press. (RELATED:Does This Image Show Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu With John Magufuli Moments Before His Death?)
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 20, 2021
Magufuli is succeeded by his former vice president, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the Associated Press reported. Other regional leaders, such as Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, joined Hassan Monday for Magufuli’s state funeral, the Associated Press reported. Magufuli is planned to be buried Friday, according to the Associated Press.