Not less than six individuals died in a crush exterior a stadium internet hosting a recreation at Africa’s prime soccer match in Cameroon on Monday, a neighborhood authorities official mentioned, realizing fears over the capability of the nation to stage the continent’s largest sports activities occasion, stories The Related Press.
Naseri Paul Biya, the governor of the central area of Cameroon, mentioned there could possibly be extra deaths.
“We’re not in place to provide the complete variety of casualties,” he mentioned.
The crush occurred as crowds struggled to get entry to Olembe Stadium within the capital metropolis of Yaounde to look at the host nation play Comoros in a final 16 knockout recreation within the African Cup of Nations.
Officers on the close by Messassi hospital mentioned they acquired at the very least 40 injured individuals, who have been rushed to the hospital by police and civilians. The officers mentioned the hospital wasn’t able to treating all of them.
“Among the injured are in determined situation,” mentioned Olinga Prudence, a nurse. “We must evacuate them to a specialised hospital.”
Individuals have been seen mendacity immobile on their backs close to an entrance to the stadium within the aftermath of the crush. A person knelt subsequent to one of many victims and gave the impression to be attempting to resuscitate the sufferer. Sneakers, caps and colourful wigs – a part of a few of the followers’ recreation costumes – have been strewn on the bottom.
Witnesses mentioned youngsters have been amongst these caught up within the crush. The witnesses mentioned it occurred when stadium stewards closed the gates and stopped permitting individuals in. It was not instantly clear if the crush occurred earlier than or throughout the recreation.
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% full for the sport attributable to restrictions on the scale of the group due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Confederation of African Soccer, which runs the African Cup, mentioned in an announcement it was conscious of the incident.
“CAF is at present investigating the state of affairs and attempting to get extra particulars on what transpired,” it mentioned. “We’re in fixed communication with Cameroon authorities and the Native Organizing Committee.”
One of many federation’s prime officers, common secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba, went to go to injured followers within the hospital, the assertion mentioned.
Cameroon is internet hosting the African Cup for the primary time in 50 years. The Central African nation was meant to host the match in 2019 however the occasion was taken away from it that yr and awarded to Egypt due to severe issues with Cameroon’s preparations, notably the readiness of its stadiums.
Olembe Stadium was one of many venues that was below scrutiny. It’s the principal stadium for the monthlong match and can stage three extra video games, together with the ultimate on Feb. 6.
Monday’s incident was the second severe blow to the nation within the house of a day, after at the very least 17 individuals died when a hearth set off a collection of explosions at a nightclub in Yaounde on Sunday.
Following that incident, Cameroon President Paul Biya urged the nation to be on guard whereas it hosts its largest nationwide sports activities occasion in a half century.
Cameroon received Monday’s recreation 2-1 to maneuver on to the quarterfinals.