22 killed at stampede at match in Ivory Coast

March 29, 2009 2:45:16 PM PDT
A stampede at a World Cup qualifying soccer match in the Ivory Coast killed at least 22 people and wounded 132 Sunday, the Minister of the Interior announced on state TV. Desire Tagro said fans pushed against each other, setting off a panic that led to the stampede at the game between the Ivory Coast and Malawi.

"Lots of fans showed up," Tagro said. "They started pushing to get in because the match was about to start and each and every one of them wanted to get in."

An Associated Press photographer said people began shoving and pushing 40 minutes before the beginning of the game at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny arena. Police fired tear gas into one section of the crowd.

Ollo Kambire, a reporter for "Super Sport," a daily newspaper focusing on sports, said that a wall collapsed under the weight of the fans as they pushed toward the field. "We saw people falling. ... Then there was panic and a stampede," he said.

Ivory Coast won the match 5-0.

There have been a number of stampedes at Africa's crowded stadiums. Badly equipped security forces are far outnumbered and are often unable to control the voluminous crowds.

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