22 killed in Ivory Coast stadium stampede (Lead)

March 30th, 2009 - 8:10 am ICT by IANS  

Hamburg, March 30 (DPA) At least 22 people were killed Sunday during a stampede following a wall collapsing before Ivory Coast’s 5-0 Group E African qualifying victory against Malawi in Abidjan, media reports said.
The BBC reported that there were some 36,000 spectators in the Houphouet-Boigny stadium when the wall collapsed, causing a stampede amongst the spectators.

The stadium is said to have been packed to capacity and as more and more people tried to squeeze into the stadium a wall collapsed causing the mayhem.

The report said that officials in the Ivory Coast had confirmed the number of deaths and the cause of the stampede.

Desire Tagro, the nation’s interior minister, said on state television that overcrowding caused a panic in the stadium, leading to the deaths and also causing injuries to over 100 people.

The report said that police tried unsuccessfully to control the crowd that started panicking.

Stampedes and riots at football games are common in Africa, with overselling of tickets and poor crowd control leading to problems.

Some 13 people died in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September after riots broke out following accusations of witchcraft, while 23 died in Sudan in July after a crush at a local football game.

In 2001, two major incidents took place, with 127 people dying after a stampede during a local game in Accra, Ghana, while the same year 43 people died during a stampede in South Africa that happened as thousands were trying to push into Ellis Park stadium to watch a game between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

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