At least 22 killed in Ivory Coast stadium stampede | inside World Soccer

At least 22 killed in Ivory Coast stadium stampede

Monday, March 30, 2009

At least 22 people were killed and 132 were wounded on Sunday at a stampede ahead of a World Cup qualifying match between Ivory Coast and Malawi at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.

The recently renovated arena has an official capacity of 35,000 but was overwhelmed with fans eager to see top European-based stars taking part and the stampede was followed by a wall collapse.

According to reports in The Guardian, part of the wall fell over, and, as collective anxiety grew into hysteria, policemen allegedly exacerbated the panic by firing tear gas into the crowd.

"Large numbers of supporters came to the stadium," Desire Tagro, Ivory Coast's Minister of the Interior said on state television.

"There was a stampede because the match was about to start, everyone absolutely wanted to get in."

The incident is reported to have occurred before kick-off, with the match going ahead as planned despite the tragedy.

Didier Drogba scored twice in the match which the hosts won 5-0 as the drama unfolded.

Hundreds of people have been killed in stadium riots and stampedes in Africa over the last decade.

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