YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – At least six people died in a tragic condition outside a stadium in Cameroon hosting a match in Africa’s top soccer tournament on Monday, a local government official said. , recognizing concerns about the country’s ability to host the continent’s largest sporting event.
Naseri Paul Biya, governor of Cameroon’s central region, said there could be more deaths reported.
“We are not ready to give you the total number of casualties,” he said.
Destruction came as crowds tried to enter Olembe Stadium in the capital Yaoundé to watch Cameroon play the Comoros in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Officials at the nearby Messassi hospital said they had received at least 40 injured people, who were taken there by police and civilians. Officials say the hospital is not capable of treating them all.
Nurse Olinga Prudence said: ‘Some of the injured are in a desperate situation. “We will have to evacuate them to a specialized hospital.”
People were seen lying on their backs motionless near the entrance to the stadium after the impact. A man knelt next to one of the victims and appeared to be trying to resuscitate him. Shoes, caps and colorful wigs – part of the fans’ uniforms – were scattered on the ground.
Witnesses said children were among those caught up in the intoxication. They said it happened when the managers closed the gates and did not allow people to enter the stadium. It was not immediately clear whether the crush occurred before or during the game.
Football officials said about 50,000 people tried to attend the match. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 people, but it is by no means able to fill more than 80% for the match due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
The Confederation of African Football, which runs the tournament, said in a statement that it was aware of the incident.
“CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what happened,” it said. “We are in regular contact with the Cameroonian government and the local Organizing Committee.”
One of the federation’s top officials, general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba, visited the injured fans in the hospital, the statement said.
Cameroon is hosting the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 50 years. The country was due to host the tournament in 2019, but the event was canceled and awarded to Egypt because of serious concerns about Cameroon’s preparations, especially the readiness of their stadiums. .
Olembe Stadium is one of those venues that has come under scrutiny. It is the main stadium for the month-long tournament and will host three more games, including the final on February 6.
Monday’s incident was the second serious blow to Cameroon within a day, after at least 17 people died when a fire sparked a series of explosions at a nightclub in Yaoundé on Sunday.
Following that incident, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya urged the country to take precautions as the country hosted the biggest sporting event in decades.
Cameroon won Monday’s match 2-1 to progress to the quarterfinals.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/world/africa/african-cup-crush-cameroon.html At least 6 people were killed in the match at the Africa Cup of Nations