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The Confederation of African Football has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a deadly stampede at Stade d’Olembe in Yaoundé, Cameroon, ahead of a January 24 2022 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 match between Cameroon and the Comoros.
Initial reports of six deaths, which circulated immediately after the game, have now been updated to eight fatalities in a government statement, while the names of some of the victims have started to emerge.
“The first assessment of the stampede is that there are eight dead and 38 injured, including 31 lightly injured and seven seriously,” reads a press release from the Ministry of Communication.
“The deceased were taken to the emergency center in Yaoundé for the appropriate formalities, while the injured were taken to four different health centers in the city of Yaoundé.
“They [health centers] were immediately alerted following the instructions of the President of the Republic Paul Biya.
Official figures published by the Ministry of Communication of Cameroon
— George Addo Jnr (@addojunr) January 25, 2022
What happened to cause the stampede of fans in Cameroon?
Local authorities told GOAL immediately after the incident how fans tried to enter the arena when security staff sought to move a barrier at the southern entrance to the stadium.
Fans closer to the gate were trampled under those who attempted to enter the arena. Some injured fans were still being taken to hospitals from the stadium’s medical center up to three-and-a-half hours after kick-off, while other victims were treated in the stadium’s player treatment room.
Some of the things I witnessed at Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé tonight.
A young teenager, hooked up to an ECG machine, checked himself into a medical facility more than three hours after the game.
Red Cross doctors worked until almost midnight trying to stabilize the victims and save lives. pic.twitter.com/pEk8Xz6CbI
— Ed Dove (@EddyDove) January 25, 2022
“In the light of this tragedy, the gravity of which creates emotion and consternation, the Head of State sends his deepest condolences to the families who have been hard hit, while also wishing a speedy recovery to the injured, to whom he conveys the deep compassion of the entire nation,” the statement continued.
The government also confirmed the opening of an investigation into the incident and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced that it was opening its own investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
The Cameroonian government has called on supporters to show “everyone’s sense of responsibility, discipline and civility for the success of this great sporting celebration”.
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“CAF is aware of the incident that occurred at Olembe Stadium during the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations match between hosts Cameroon and Comoros tonight, 24 January 2022,” reads- on in a statement from the governing body of African football.
“CAF are currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details about what happened. We are in constant communication with the Cameroonian government and the local organizing committee.”
CAF Secretary General Veron Mosengo-Omba visited supporters hospitalized in Yaoundé in the hours following the crush.
Officials at Messassi Hospital in Yaoundé told the AP that at least 40 injured people had been transferred to their facility, while the local gendarmerie confirmed to GOAL that the deaths and injuries occurred when supporters attempted to entering the stadium crushed those who had fallen in front of them. .
GOAL at the scene saw Red Cross medics tending to patients who became involved in the crash. A young teenage supporter was transported from the players’ medical ward to a waiting ambulance on a stretcher, before being taken to a nearby medical facility.
Stadium medical staff appeared in various states of distress following the incident, but could only share their hope that the victims who were taken to hospital in time would receive the treatment they needed to recover. to survive.
FIFA also sent its condolences to those affected by the tragedy, offering “the thoughts and prayers of the global football community” to the victims, injured and personnel involved in the incident.
“There was the kind of stampede that we see wherever there are these kinds of big crowd movements,” CAN organizing committee spokesman Abel Mbengue said, according to L’Equipe. “We are waiting for reliable information about the victims.”
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The 60,000-seater stadium had a reduced capacity of 50,000 for the match, with the arena operating at 80% due to restrictions installed ahead of the competition in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Other matches in the tournament not involving hosts Cameroon have been set at 60% capacity.
The Round of 16 match went as planned and Cameroon beat Comoros 2-1 to advance to the quarter-finals where they will meet Gambia in Douala on January 29.
The Olembe stadium tragedy happened less than 48 hours after at least 17 people were killed in a nightclub fire.
CAN 2022 stampede in Cameroon leaves eight dead at the opening of investigations
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