Eight killed and 40 in­jured in stam­pede at foot­ball match

The Scotsman - - World News - By CHRISTO­PHER TORCHIA

A crowd has stam­peded at a Malawi foot­ball sta­dium dur­ing in­de­pen­dence day cel­e­bra­tions, killing eight people and in­jur­ing more than 40 others, most of them chil­dren.

The dis­as­ter hap­pened at Bingu Na­tional Sta­dium in the cap­i­tal Li­longwe ahead of a foot­ball match be­tween two lo­cal teams.

The dead in­cluded chil­dren aged be­tween five and 12, ac­cord­ing to the Daily Times, a news­pa­per in the south­ern African coun­try.

It said the stam­pede hap­pened when po­lice used tear gas to dis­perse a crowd push­ing into the sta­dium dur­ing com­mem­o­ra­tions of in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain on 6 July 1964.

Am­bu­lances, po­lice cars and other ve­hi­cles rushed the in­jured to a hos­pi­tal, where friends and fam­ily mem­bers gath­ered to check on the vic­tims.

The stam­pede oc­curred as a sta­dium gate was be­ing opened, re­ported The Na­tion, an­other Malaw­ian news­pa­per.

It de­scribed a chaotic scene at Ka­muzu Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal, where medics treated chil­dren in the emer­gency sec­tion and some vic­tims were ly­ing on the floor be­cause all the beds were oc­cu­pied.

The ates at the 40,000-ca­pac­ity sta­dium had been sup­posed to open at 6:30am lo­cal time to al­low free en­try of people to the event – but there was re­ported to be a de­lay of about three hours.

How­ever, thou­sands had al­ready turned up, and some tried to force their way in, prompt­ing the po­lice to fire the tear gas. In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Lexan Kachama said he ex­pected the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties to rise.

The foot­ball match be­tween top sides Nyasa Big Bul­lets and Sil­ver Strik­ers was be­ing held as part of events to mark the 53rd an­niver­sary of Malawi’s in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish colo­nial rule.

Most of the in­jured were un­der ten and had been look­ing for­ward to the match, which was to be free for spec­ta­tors, ac­cord­ing to The Na­tion.

Pres­i­dent Peter Mutharika has of­fered his con­do­lences and said the govern­ment will do all it can to as­sist the fam­i­lies of the be­reaved.

He said he was shocked to learn of the tragedy.

0 A doc­tor at the Ka­muzu Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal briefs Malawi’s pres­i­dent Peter Mutharika and first lady Gertrude Mutharika as they visit those in­jured in the stam­pede

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