Toggaherer’s Weblog

Thieves use cat to trigger Somaliland stampede

Posted on: February 27, 2009

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters) – Thieves caused chaos outside a Somaliland mosque late on Thursday when they took advantage of a power cut to throw a stray cat into the crowd, triggering a stampede so they could rob worshippers.

Large screens had been set up outside Hargeisa’s packed Ali Matan Mosque so thousands of people could watch a sermon by Sheikh Moustafa Hagi Ismael Hassan, one of the Horn of Africa country’s most senior Muslim clerics.

But when a short circuit cast the downtown area into darkness, the sheikh said gangsters hurled a feral cat into the centre of the crowd, causing a commotion. During the stampede, the robbers grabbed mobile phones and money.

“A number of people were wounded, most of them beggars,” Hassan told Reuters. “I’ve sent them to hospital for treatment.”

Suleiman Abdillahi Qafil, who owns a nearby restaurant, told reporters he saw at least three children hurt in the melee. Tables and chairs outside his small business were wrecked.

(Writing by Daniel Wallis)

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