August 12, 2022

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Several Killed, Dozens Hurt in Stampede at Cameroon AFCON Match

3 min read

At least eight people are reported to have been killed and dozens hurt in a crush outside an Africa Cup of Nations match in Cameroon.

Video footage showed football fans struggling to get access to the Paul Biya stadium in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde.

The crush happened as crowds struggled to get access to Olembe Stadium to watch the host country play Comoros in a last 16 knockout game.

Naseri Paul Biya, the governor of the central region of Cameroon, said there could be more deaths.

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

Officials at the nearby Messassi hospital said they received at least 40 injured people, who were rushed to the hospital by police and civilians. The officials said the hospital wasn’t capable of treating all of them.

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

People were seen lying motionless on their backs near an entrance to the stadium in the aftermath of the crush. Shoes, caps and colorful wigs – part of some of the fans’ game costumes – were strewn on the ground.

Witnesses said the crush happened when stadium stewards closed the gates and stopped allowing people in. It was not immediately clear if the crush happened before or during the game.

Soccer officials said around 50,000 people had tried to attend the match. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but it was not meant to be more than 80 per cent full for the game due to restrictions on the size of the crowd because of Covid.

The Confederation of African Football, which runs the African Cup, said in a statement it was aware of the incident.

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

Cameroon is hosting the African Cup for the first time in 50 years. The Central African nation was meant to host the tournament in 2019 but the event was taken away from it that year and awarded to Egypt because of serious concerns with Cameroon’s preparations, particularly the readiness of its stadiums.

Monday’s incident was the second serious blow to the country in the space of a day, after at least 17 people died when a fire set off a series of explosions at a nightclub in Yaounde on Sunday.

Following that incident, Cameroon President Paul Biya urged the country to be on guard while it hosts its biggest national sports event in a half century.

51 thoughts on “Several Killed, Dozens Hurt in Stampede at Cameroon AFCON Match

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