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Deadly stampede hits African Cup football game in Cameroon

Cameroon’s progress at the African Cup of Nations was overshadowed by a stampede outside the stadium that killed at least six people and wounded 40 others during the host nation’s victory over Comoros.

Monday’s crash happened as crowds struggled to get access to Olembe Stadium in the capital of Yaounde as Cameroon beat Comoros 2-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

Naseri Paul Biya, governor of the central region of Cameroon, said there could be more casualties.

Images shared on social media, which could not be immediately authenticated, showed screaming fans being crushed at an entrance gate.

“There was a crush as can happen when there is a stampede. We are waiting for reliable information on the number of casualties in this tragic incident,” said Abel Mbengue, spokesperson for the Africa Cup of Nations organising committee.

Restrictions on size of crowd

Details of the tragedy outside the stadium were only confirmed after the game. Officials at the nearby Messassi hospital said they had received at least 40 injured people from the stampede.

“Some of the injured are in desperate condition,” said Olinga Prudence, a nurse.

“We will have to evacuate them to a specialised hospital.”

Cameroon is hosting Africa’s flagship football tournament for the first time in 50 years.

Football officials said around 50,000 people had tried to attend the match.

The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but it was not meant to be more than 80 percent full for the game due to restrictions on the size of the crowd because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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