At least 6 killed in an African Cup match

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – At least six people have died in a crash outside a stadium in Cameroon hosting a match of Africa’s top soccer tourna...

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – At least six people have died in a crash outside a stadium in Cameroon hosting a match of Africa’s top soccer tournament on Monday, a local government official said, realizing fears over the country’s ability to stage the biggest sporting event on the continent.

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

“We are not able to give you the total number of victims,” ​​he said.

Love at first sight came as crowds struggled to gain access to the Olembe stadium in the capital, Yaounde, to watch Cameroon take on Comoros in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Officials at nearby Messassi hospital said they had received at least 40 wounded, who were taken there by police and civilians. Officials said the hospital was unable to treat them all.

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

People were seen lying motionless on their backs near a stadium entrance the day after the crush. A man knelt down next to one of the victims and appeared to be trying to resuscitate the person. Colorful shoes, caps and wigs – part of some fans’ attire – were strewn on the floor.

Witnesses said children were among those caught in the stampede. They said it happened when stewards closed the gates and stopped allowing people into the stadium. It wasn’t immediately clear if the crash happened before or during the game.

Football officials said around 50,000 people tried to attend the game. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000, but was not supposed to be more than 80% full for the game due to pandemic restrictions.

The Confederation of African Football, which organizes 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 about what happened,” he said. “We are in constant communication with the Cameroonian government and the local organizing committee.”

One of the federation’s top officials, general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba, went to visit the injured fans in hospital, the statement said.

Cameroon is hosting the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 50 years. The nation was supposed to host the tournament in 2019, but the event was canceled and awarded to Egypt due to serious concerns over Cameroon’s preparations, particularly the readiness of its stadiums.

Olembe Stadium was one of the venues that had come under scrutiny. It is the main stadium for the month-long tournament and will host three more matches, including the final on February 6.

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

Following the incident, President Paul Biya of Cameroon has urged the country to be on guard as it hosts its biggest sporting event in decades.

Cameroon won Monday’s match 2-1 to advance to the quarter-finals.

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Newsrust - US Top News: At least 6 killed in an African Cup match
At least 6 killed in an African Cup match
Newsrust - US Top News
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