Officials Closed The Gates That Led To The Clash: Says An Eyewitness
According to an eyewitness to the calamity at the Africa Cup of Nations game in Cameroon, which has claimed the lives of eight people so far, two of whom are children, stadium administrators shut down the games before the crowd.
Fans appear to be pressing through a barrier to reach the Paul Biya stadium to watch the match between hosts Cameroon and Comoros, according to video footage shared on social media.
A report into a stadium crush in the Cameroonian city of Yaoundé will focus on who closed the entrance at the Olembe Stadium, according to the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
During the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match between Cameroon and Comoros on Monday, at least eight people were killed and 38 more were injured.
Fans attempting to attend the round of 16 match, which concluded in a 2-1 victory for Cameroon, were crushed at the stadium’s south entrance.
“If [the gate] had been open, [spectators] would have walked through,” CAF president Patrice Motsepe stated at a press conference on Tuesday.
“We wouldn’t have had this loss of life if that gate had been open as it was intended to be.”
Motsepe further promised that a situation like this would “never happen again” at an AFCON competition, claiming that “there were things that should have been expected.”
“There is zero tolerance, absolute zero tolerance in circumstances that could result in individuals getting wounded or losing their lives at a stadium,” he stated.
The AFCON quarterfinal scheduled for Sunday at Olembe Stadium would be changed to Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé, subject to approval from CAF’s executive committee, according to the news conference.
According to a statement from Cameroon’s government, 31 individuals were lightly injured and seven people were critically injured in the crush.
“Faced with this tragedy, the gravity of which has evoked emotion and concern,” the statement continued, “the Head of State [Paul Biya] sends his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, as well as his best wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured, to whom he sends the entire nation’s profound compassion.”
The dead were transferred to the Yaoundé Emergency Centre, while the injured were split up among four Yaoundé hospitals.
FIFA, football’s worldwide governing body, issued a statement on Tuesday expressing its “deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims who have lost their lives.”
It went on to say:
“At this terrible time, the global football community’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured in this catastrophe, and all the employees of both CAF and the Cameroonian Football Association.”
Another Tragedy Had Earlier Claimed 16 Lives
The incident on Monday occurred just one day after another catastrophe in the city.
According to a government statement, at least 16 individuals were murdered when a fire ripped through a nightclub early Sunday. Eight more people were critically hurt and are being treated in intensive care.
Several patients were in critical condition, according to the director of the Yaoundé Central Hospital, who spoke during a news conference convened on the scene.
According to a statement from the Cameroonian Ministry of Communication, pyrotechnics caused the ceiling at the Liv Nightclub to catch fire, culminating in two huge explosions that caused panic among those present.