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Deadly stampede during a CAN match, an open investigation – RT in French

Eight people died and dozens more were injured in a crowd movement during the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations. Cameroonian President Paul Biya has ordered an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

A crowd movement left eight dead and around forty injured on the evening of January 24 in front of the Yaoundé stadium hosting the match between Cameroon and the Comoros, for the round of 16 of the African Cup of Nations (CAN). According to the Ministry of Health, the stampede occurred at the southern entrance to the Olembé stadium, when the health pass was checked. In addition to the eight deaths, 38 people were injured in the tragedy, « including seven seriously », detailed in a press release the Minister of Communication of Cameroon, René Emmanuel Sadi.

A baby was also trampled on by the crowd, still outside the stadium, according to the Ministry of Health. The infant, « immediately extirpated and taken to Yaoundé General Hospital », is in a « medically stable » condition, said the Ministry of Health.

The African Football Confederation (CAF), which organizes the continent’s flagship competition, dispatched its secretary general « to the bedside of the victims admitted to hospitals in Yaoundé », according to a press release, specifying that it « is currently investigating the situation in order to obtain more details on these incidents”. A crisis meeting dedicated to stadium security issues was also scheduled for the morning of January 25.

In addition, Cameroonian President Paul Biya has ordered an investigation into the stampede, « so that all the light is shed on this tragic incident », announced the Minister of Communication on January 25, calling « once again the Cameroonians « with a sense of responsibility, discipline and good citizenship for all for the total success of this great sports festival ».

60-80% gauge in stadiums

Cameroon has been hosting the queen competition of African football since January 9 and until February 6 in the stadiums of five cities. That of Olembé, with a capacity of 60,000 seats, was specially built for the CAN. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a 60% stadium filling gauge had been introduced, this being increased to 80% when the « Indomitable Lions » (Cameroon’s national team) play.

Before this accident, similar tragedies have bereaved the world of football in Africa in recent years. Thus, on July 15, 2017, eight people were killed and hundreds injured in a crowd movement at the Demba Diop stadium in Dakar, after clashes between supporters during the Coupe de la Ligue final. On April 11, 2001, 43 people died when thousands of ticketless fans forced their way into the already packed Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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