Eight killed and 40 injured in stampede at football match
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