Stampede before pope’s speech in Angola, two killed

March 22nd, 2009 - 8:09 am ICT by IANS  

Luanda, March 22 (DPA) At least two people were killed and eight injured in a stampede Saturday at a stadium in Angolan capital Luanda before Pope Benedict XVI addressed thousands of youth.
While Angolan authorities confirmed the incident before the outdoor ceremony at the Dos Coquieros sports stadium, the details were unclear.

Italian media reported that two young people, a boy and girl, were killed in the crush of thousands of people trying to get into the stadium. Another eight people collapsed because of the crowding and heat and were injured. Most of them had been waiting for more than four hours in line.

Rev Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, confirmed the reports and said the pope was “pained and concerned” that two people had died.

About 55 percent of people in the oil-rich former Portuguese colony of Angola, which emerged from a devastating 27-civil war in 2002, are Catholic.

Angola’s is also a very young population, with over half of the population under 18 years.

Earlier Saturday at the sports stadium, the pope called on the youth to show “courage and faith in God” as the country recovers from 27 years of civil war, observing as he did so that the “social culture” of the times was not conducive to living according to “the word of God”.

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