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Church collapse: SA bodies 'home soon'

12 October 2014, 17:15

Johannesburg - The bodies of more than 80 South Africans, who died when a guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of all Nations collapsed in Lagos, could be back in South Africa by the end of October, a local newspaper, City Press, reported.

"We are looking at three weeks," Professor John Obafunwa, chief medical examiner of Lagos State and vice chancellor of the state university, was quoted as saying.

"I would be surprised if we had to wait till November... I expect all bodies to be out by that time. The inquest could drag on for weeks and months. But we're not going to delay the release of bodies to family members because of that."

Obafunwa was overseeing the identification process and was speaking from Lagos University Teaching Hospital, where some of the remains were being kept.

Obafunwa said the autopsies had been completed and samples were shipped out for DNA analysis.

He said the process of identification had been slow because Nigeria did not have facilities to analyse DNA.

On 12 September, 116 people, among them 84 South Africans, were killed when a multi-storey guesthouse attached to the church collapsed in Lagos.

The church is run by Pastor TB Joshua. An inquest into the deaths begins on Monday.

Joshua is one of the witnesses subpoenaed to attend the inquest at the Ikeja High Court, according to the City Press.



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