AFCON Stampede Leaves 8 Dead, 40+ Injured In Cameroonian Stadium
At least six people have died after a stampede broke out outside of Olembe Stadium in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde. The stampede erupted ahead of the host country’s match against East African islanders Comoros, during this year’s African Cup of Nations competition. Forty more were injured, while Naseri Paul Biya — governor of the central region of Cameroon — said there could be more casualties announced as the night progresses. “We are not in a position to give you the total number of casualties,” he said.
The violent event took place at the same stadium which hosted the tournament’s opening ceremony, on January 9. The 60,000 capacity stadium was built while the host country got ready for the delayed tournament, and saw fans get crushed as they tried to make their way into the stadium. Several eye-witnesses have claimed that the disturbance took place at the stadium’s entrance. Reports of injured children being crushed during the incident were also reported.
Despite the ruckus, the match went on. Minnows Comoros is ranked 132nd in the world and was diluted down to ten men… seven minutes into the game. Midfielder Najdim Abdou being dismissed during the opening exchanges for stomping on the back of Cameroon’s Moumi Ngamaleu‘s ankle definitely didn’t set the game off to an optimistic start.
Meanwhile, officials at the Messassi hospital close to the stadium said that they had received at least 40 injured people at their health center alone. Said officials spoke of their hospital being incapable of treating all of the wounded who were rushed in by police and civilians.