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At least 15 dead in Congo soccer stadium stampede

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:02 a.m. HST, May 12, 2014



KINSHASA, Congo >> A stampede at a soccer stadium in Congo's capital on Sunday killed at least 15 people and injured more than a dozen, government officials said.

The stampede at the Tata Raphael Stadium in Kinshasa happened toward the end of a match between two popular Congolese teams, AS Vita Club and TP Mazembe, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry read on national television late Sunday.

At least 21 people were injured during the melee, said Gov. Andre Kimbuta, who has set up a commission to investigate the incident.

Witnesses told U.N.-backed Radio Okapi that police fired tear gas into the crowd after angry fans threw objects onto the field in the final minutes of the match on the last day of the league season. The home team, AS Vita, was losing 1-0.

The stampede then caused a recently restored wall and gate to collapse, African soccer body the Confederation of African Football said in a statement Monday. The continental body has also asked Congolese soccer authorities for a report.

Altercations have previously erupted when Kinshasa-based AS Vita played Lubumbashi-based TP Mazembe, a four-time African club champion that played at FIFA's Club World Cup in 2010.

Sanctions had been imposed last season on the teams after a match between them in the city of Lubumbashi, Radio Okapi reported.

More than 20 people were killed on April 25 in the town of Kikwit in southwest Congo when generators failed during a festival honoring a popular singer, plunging the stadium into darkness and causing a stampede.

Sunday's Kinshasa stadium stampede also came days after Ghana marked the anniversary of Africa's worst football disaster. Over 120 people were killed on May 9, 2001 when police fired tear gas at a stadium in the Ghanaian capital Accra because of crowd trouble at a game, also causing a stampede in the stands.

Most recently, more than 70 people died in a riot at a football game in the Egyptian city of Port Said in February 2012. The riot was linked to political violence in Egypt following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak as president.

___

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.






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