14 killed in China mosque stampede: Xinhua

Fourteen people, some of them children, have been killed and 10 injured in a stampede during a gathering at a mosque in China’s Ningxia region.

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The stampede happened at lunchtime on Sunday while traditional food was being handed out to people attending an event to commemorate a late religious leader, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the local government.

The injured were hospitalised, with four in critical condition, the brief report said on Monday.

One photo posted online by Chinese news outlets showed six bodies laid out side-by-side inside a building, with several children in colourful outfits among the dead.

Other pictures posted online showed a large crowd, most of them men and many wearing white Islamic caps, standing outside the green mosque, apparently after the incident.

Clothes and shoes were scattered on the ground, along with what appeared to be a collapsed section of scaffolding.

An inquiry was under way into the cause of the stampede at the mosque in Xiji, around 280 kilometres (174 miles) south of the regional capital Yinchuan.

“The investigation is still underway. We have nothing to reveal,” a man at the Xiji county police surnamed Wang told AFP.

According to NXNews.net, a regional news portal connected to the local authorities, at a meeting on Monday a Ningxia Communist Party committee “determined that the Xiji stampede was caused by poor organisation and insufficient supervision during a regular religious activity”.

The committee said that “religious activities must be strictly managed, placing public safety above all else so as not to allow any life-threatening situations”, NXNews.net added.