Nigeria: Church obstructed rescue, lives lost

AP News
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Posted: Sep 19, 2014 4:18 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nigeria's emergency agency says lives were lost as church officials prevented workers from rescuing victims at the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos.

Most victims were South African.

Spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency tells The Associated Press that a multi-story shopping mall and guesthouse at televangelist T.B. Joshua's Synagogue, Church of All Nations collapsed at 12:44 p.m. on Friday but rescue workers did not get full access until after 5 p.m. Sunday.

He says 80 bodies were recovered and 131 survivors were saved by the time the operation ended at 3:35 p.m. Thursday.

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Farinloye said Friday that rescuers lost critical hours when most lives are saved.

Some rescue workers were attacked by church members who also smashed the camera of a TV journalist.