At Least 8 Dead, Nearly 40 Injured Following Crush at Africa Cup of Nations Soccer Match
Cameroon is hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, a continental tournament held every four years.
The incident occurred during Cameroon’s win over Comoros at the Paul Biya stadium in the capital Yaoundé, as fans struggled to gain access to the venue reportedly due to only one gate being open, causing havoc and bottlenecking among revelers, BBC reported.
Two children, aged 6 and 14, are among the dead, BBC reported. The tragic death toll could still rise as dozens are being treated in hospital, Eurosport reported.
Olinga Prudence, a nurse at a nearby hospital, told Associated Press that “some of the injured are in desperate condition. We will have to evacuate them to a specialized hospital.”
Cameroonian President Paul Biya ordered an investigation into the "tragic incident.” The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has also launched its own investigation, they said in a statement.
Officials said about 50,000 people tried to attend the match in a stadium that has a capacity for 60,000 patrons but due to Covid restrictions, it could only be 80% full, BBC reported.
Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar has urged fans to be “highly disciplined and responsible” during the remainder of the Africa Cup of Nations, after a stampede, Eurosport reported.
The team, nicknamed the Indomitable Lions, issued a statement Tuesday on Twitter.
“To the families of the victims, they extend their heart-felt condolences and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” the statement said.
Soccer’s global governing body, FIFA, issued a statement saying they are sending “its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following the tragic incident that took place at Olembe Stadium. The thoughts and prayers of the global football community are with the victims [and] the ones who have been injured in this incident.”
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