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Eleven killed in Congo stadium crush

Eleven people have died following a crush at an overcrowded stadium concert in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, the interior minister has said.

Two police officers were among the victims at singer-songwriter Fally Ipupa’s hometown headline show at the Stadium of Martyrs on Saturday (29 October). The disaster comes just weeks after nine people died in a stampede at a rock music festival in Guatemala.

According to Reuters reporters in attendance, Ipupa’s show was packed beyond its 80,000 capacity and some of the crowd ended up forcing their way into the VIP and reserved sections. The eventual number of attendees reportedly vastly exceeded the number that security could control.

Condemning the “loss of human life and damage to equipment”, minister Daniel Aselo Okito confirms “11 deaths, including 10 as a result of suffocation and the crush, and seven hospitalisations”. Okito placed the blame on organisers, who he says “must be punished”.

Security forces had earlier fired tear gas to try to disperse violent crowds in the streets outside the venue ahead of the concert.

“Under the pressure of the crowd, the police could not hold out long”

Official Congolese press agency ACP quoted a police officer on the scene who said a “stampede” caused the deaths, reports Africa News.

ACP says police had cordoned off three areas – the VIP stand, the pitch and the stage. “Under the pressure of the crowd, the police could not hold out long,” it adds.

In a Facebook post, Kinshasa-born Ipupa says: “Following what we accomplished together yesterday, I had planned for today to send a message of joy and satisfaction beyond the evils our dear country is going through. Unfortunately, despite all the arrangements made for strict compliance with safety instructions, some unfortunate and dramatic incidents [marred] the end of the concert.

“I am deeply disturbed and my deepest condolences to all the families. May God in his deepest mercy comfort the bereaved hearts.”

 


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