At least 17 killed in stampede at church vigil disrupted by politicking, officials say

Officials say at least 17 people died in a stampede at an all-night church vigil disrupted by politicking over a contentious Nov. 18 gubernatorial election in Nigeria's southeast Anambra state.

Police Deputy Inspector General Emmanuel Kachi Udeoji said the stampede occurred before dawn Saturday at an All Saints' Day open-air vigil attended by tens of thousands and organized by St. Dominic's Catholic Church in the town of Uke.

Anambra government spokesman Mike Udah said he counted the bodies of 17 victims at one local hospital.

Newspaper and TV reports say outgoing Gov. Peter Obi attended the crusade earlier but left after he was booed as he tried to promote his gubernatorial candidate.

Some witnesses blamed both contesting political parties for the chaos.