In a crowd outside the Africa Cup of Nations football match in Olembe Stadium Cameroon, at least eight people were killed and 38 more were injured.
At least eight killed in a stampede at Olembe stadium and many were injured before kick-off of Monday’s match.
Screaming spectators were crushed at an entry gate to the Olembé stadium in Yaoundé, according to videos.
Witnesses recounted chaotic scenes outside the stadium as tens of thousands of fans fought for entry.
Two eight-year-old and fourteen-year-old boys were killed, and seven people were critically injured.
President of Cameroon Paul Biya ordered an investigation into the “tragic incident”. The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has also launched its own investigation and says a minute’s silence will be observed at future matches as a mark of respect to those who died.
Authorities say about 50,000 people tried to attend the match on Monday.
The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but it was not meant to be more than 80% full for the game because of Covid restrictions.
Confederation of Africa Football releases a statement on the unfortunate incident
CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe: “We are saddened when there is loss of life and all of us should put aside the legal issues and take responsibility. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends.
The CAF family is deeply hurt. We would like to convey our deepest condolences to the families, friends and relatives of the people who lost their lives yesterday.”
President Motsepe added: “We have a duty to find out exactly what happened and more importantly to put appropriate measures to ensure that what happened never happens again. When people lose their lives, we all should be angry. We have to demand explanations and guarantees that it will never happen again.”
The CAF President earlier today visited the injured in Yaoundé hospitals.
“This morning I was at the hospital and visited the injured people. At this moment our greatest attention is on the people who have suffered, I wanted to visit the injured spectators last night but was advised to allow the doctor and the medical staff to focus on the injured spectators. I want to reaffirm that we are very sorry, and we will assist the injured and the families of those who lost their lives in whichever manner possible.”
Dr Motsepe has also indicated that CAF will reach out to all the families of the eight supporters who lost their lives in the next few days.
After a low turnout at the first round of matches of the continent’s top football tournament, the Cameroonian authorities have organised mass transport and given out free tickets to lure fans to attend.
The Olembé stadium officially called the Paul Biya stadium but dubbed “Olembé” after the neighbourhood it occupies, is the largest in Cameroon and opened last year. It was scheduled to host three more matches, including the final.
Cameroon was supposed to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 but was stripped of the event amid concerns over delays in building stadiums and infrastructure.
The video is courtesy of Aljazeera news.