At Least 6 Killed in Crush at African Cup Match

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon — At least six individuals died in a crush outdoors a stadium in Cameroon internet hosting a sport in Africa’s prime soccer event on Monday, a neighborhood authorities official mentioned, realizing fears over the nation’s capability to stage the continent’s largest sporting occasion.

Naseri Paul Biya, the governor of the central area of Cameroon, mentioned there may very well be extra deaths reported.

“We are not in position to give you the total number of casualties,” he mentioned.

The crush occurred as crowds struggled to get entry to Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, the capital, to look at Cameroon play Comoros in the African Cup of Nations.

Officials at the close by Messassi hospital mentioned they acquired at least 40 injured individuals, who had been rushed there by police and civilians. The officers mentioned the hospital wasn’t able to treating all of them.

“Some of the injured are in desperate condition,” mentioned Olinga Prudence, a nurse. “We will have to evacuate them to a specialized hospital.”

People had been seen mendacity immobile on their backs close to an entrance to the stadium in the aftermath of the crush. A person knelt subsequent to one of many victims and gave the impression to be making an attempt to resuscitate the individual. Shoes, caps and colourful wigs — a part of among the followers’ sport apparel — had been strewn on the bottom.

Witnesses mentioned kids had been amongst these caught up in the crush. They mentioned it occurred when stewards closed the gates and stopped permitting individuals into the stadium. It was not instantly clear if the crush occurred earlier than or in the course of the sport.

Soccer officers mentioned round 50,000 individuals had tried to attend the match. The stadium has a capability of 60,000, nevertheless it was not meant to be greater than 80 p.c full for the sport attributable to pandemic-related restrictions.

The Confederation of African Football, which runs the event, mentioned in a press release it was conscious of the incident.

“CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired,” it mentioned. “We are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the Local Organizing Committee.”

One of the federation’s prime officers, the final secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba, went to go to injured followers in the hospital, the assertion mentioned.

Cameroon is internet hosting the African Cup of Nations for the primary time in 50 years. The nation was meant to host the event in 2019, however the occasion was rescinded and awarded to Egypt due to severe considerations with Cameroon’s preparations, significantly the readiness of its stadiums.

Olembe Stadium was one of many venues that had been underneath scrutiny. It is the principle stadium for the monthlong event and can stage three extra video games, together with the ultimate on Feb. 6.

Monday’s incident was the second severe blow to Cameroon in the house of a day, after at least 17 individuals died when a hearth set off a collection of explosions at a nightclub in Yaoundé on Sunday.

Following that incident, President Paul Biya of Cameroon urged the nation to be on guard whereas it hosts its largest sports activities occasion in a long time.

Cameroon received Monday’s sport 2-1 to maneuver on to the quarterfinals.

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