Fifteen people have died in a football stadium in Democratic Republic of Congo after police are said to have fired tear gas, provoking a stampede. Fans in the capital, Kinshasa, grew angry during the playoff match between ASV Club and the Tout Puissant Mazembe on Sunday evening, according to Emmanuel Akweti, a minister for the city. “Four policemen were harassed by supporters. When they fired tear gas, the stampede began, causing the deaths,” he said.
Images on a local television station showed plumes of smoke rising from the stadium’s seats. Supporters, blinded by the gas, ran in different directions, with some falling over, the footage showed. Mr Akweti said 15 people died of suffocation and 24 were injured. A police source, who declined to be named, put the death toll higher, at 18. According to DRC’s Radio Okapi, ASV Club supporters began hurling stones and projectiles from the stands after their team began to lose, forcing the referee to halt the match several times.
It said police fired tear gas canisters into the crowd and, in the ensuring chaos, a stadium wall collapsed. Kinshasa governor Andre Kimbuta said he had launched an enquiry into the disaster “to identify those responsible.” Stampedes are a frequent occurrence at crowded events in DRC. Last month, at least 21 people were killed when a power cut caused a stampede at a crowded music festival.
SOURCE Sky News