At least eight people died and 38 were injured in a stampede when fans stormed a stadium hosting an Africa Cup of Nations soccer match in Cameroon’s capital on Monday, the government said.
Images shared on social media, which Reuters could not immediately authenticate, showed a panicked crowd trying to squeeze through a narrow entrance gate at the newly built Olembe stadium in Yaounde that was hosting a round of 16 game between Cameroon and Comoros.
One video showed dozens of fans scrambling over the stadium fence as a police officer walked by.
The stampede comes as a heavy blow for the tournament, which had grown in excitement on the pitch in recent days thanks to some match upsets but which was under scrutiny for a lack of readiness beforehand.
COVID-19 and insecurity caused by a separatist insurgency also complicated preparations.
“CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired. We are in constant communication with the Cameroon government and the Local Organising Committee,” it said in a statement.
THE SHOCK, THE WEIGHT
High school teacher Vanessa Tchouanzi had come to see the match on Monday night with her friend, Veronique, who was also a teacher. Tchouanzi was barely able to get her words out as she recounted her experience over the phone to Reuters