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President Ruto mourns South Koreans who perished in Halloween crowd crush

President William Ruto has mourned South Koreans who perished during Halloween crowd crush that claimed over 145 lives in Itaewon, a popular leisure district of Seoul in South Korea.

In his tweet the Head of State said, “Kenya mourns with the people of South Korea following the tragic crush that claimed many lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those affected.”

According to reports from officials, a large crowd began pushing forward in the sloped alley near the Hamilton hotel, a party spot in Seoul with local media reporting that people rushed to a bar after a celebrity was sighted.

“Many of the victims were women and young people in their 20s and 19 foreigners from Iran, Uzbekistan, China and Norway,” said a National Fire Agency official, Choi Cheon-sik.

The Guardian said that about 100,000 people had filled Itaewon’s streets for the biggest festivities since the easing of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Dozens of bars and restaurants were packed with revellers wearing elaborate Halloween costumes.

Witnesses described scrambling to get out of the suffocating crowd in the downhill alley as people ended up piling on top of one another.

The South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has since declared a period of national mourning following the stampede, as distraught relatives flocked to the city’s hospitals searching for their missing family members.

“This is truly tragic. The government will designate the period from today until the accident is brought under control as a period of national mourning,” President Suk-yeol said.

South Korea has heavily invested in Kenya in the infrastructure, technology and energy sector especially with electronic devices.

Halloween is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian (composed of the Latin Church and Western Protestantism) feast of All Hallows’ Day, a Christian solemnity celebrated in honour of all the saints of the church.