(LONDON) — At least eight people died in a stampede outside a stadium hosting a game at Africa’s top soccer tournament in Cameroon on Monday, officials said.
The deadly crush occurred at the southern entrance of the Olembe Stadium in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, as fans jostled to watch the host country play Comoros in a round-of-16 knockout match in the Africa Cup of Nations. Another 38 people were injured during the incident, including seven seriously, according to a press release from the Cameroonian Ministry of Communication.
The dead were taken to Yaounde Emergency Center, while the injured were admitted to four different hospitals across the city, the ministry said.
The ministry added that Cameroonian President Paul Biya “sends his deepest condolences to the hard-hit families, as well as his wishes of a speedy recovery to the injured, to whom he sends the profound compassion of the entire nation.”
The Confederation of African Football (CAF), which organizes the Africa Cup of Nations, said in a statement Monday that it “is aware of the incident.”
“CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired,” CAF added. “We are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the Local Organizing Committee.”
The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA), soccer’s world governing body, said in a statement Tuesday that it “sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following the tragic incident.”
“The thoughts and prayers of the global football community are with the victims, the ones who have been injured in this incident, and all the staff of both CAF and the Cameroonian Football Association (FECAFOOT) at this difficult moment,” FIFA said.
It’s the first time in 50 years that Cameroon is hosting the much-anticipated Africa Cup of Nations. The Central African country was supposed to host the monthlong competition in 2019 but was stripped of that right due to serious delays with its preparations. That year’s event was ultimately hosted by Egypt.
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